CELTIC matchwinner David Turnbull has the ability to break into Steve Clarke’s Scotland Euro Finals squad.

That’s the view of Hoops assistant boss John Kennedy following another five-star performance from the Under-21 midfielder who thundered in the only goal of the victory over Aberdeen at Parkhead last night.

Turnbull has proved to be a revelation after a slow start to his career at the nine-in-a-row champions after his £2.25million switch from Motherwell. However, after a superb display in the team’s only Europa League success against Lille in December, the stylish playmaker is now a key man in Neil Lennon’s line-up.

His long-range strike against the Dons was his seventh goal for Celtic and sealed their fifth consecutive Premiership win although they are still a massive 15 points adrift of pacesetting Rangers.

DONS-BREAKER…David Turnbull powers in Celtic’s winner.

Parkhead No.2 Kennedy is convinced the 21-year-old is ready to make the step up to the full international level with June clashes due against England, Croata and the Czech Republic.

Asked if Turnbull is a possibility for the Euros, Kennedy, speaking to the Evening Times, replied: “I wouldn’t rule it out. Steve will have a lot of decisions to make with his squad. Maybe he will be loyal to the guys that got him there.

“But David is doing everything he can in terms of performances to ask the question. That’s all he can do, but ultimately it’s Steve’s choice and decision. From a selfish point of view, we just worry about him doing well for us.”

Reflecting on his latest performance for the team, Kennedy continued: “We knew when we brought him in the ability he had and he fits how we want to play and the way we see the game.

“He’s been terrific, he came in and spent a bit of time in terms of getting up to the speed of the training and how we worked.

“But since he’s gone in he’s been terrific for us, he’s a really intelligent player with amazing technical ability.

“At times, we ask him to know when to speed the game up, take fewer touches, his decision making in terms of when he gets his shot off.

“But this occasion was a good example where he drove into space, but close enough that it’s in range and we know that’s the type of range where he’s got a decent finish on him.

“So, really good goal for him, but also for the team.”

PRIZE GUYS…David Turnbull is congratulated by Celtic team-mates Albian Ajeti, Callum McGregor and Odsonne Edouard after his winning strike. Dons defender Andy Considine doesn’t look quite so happy.

Celtic’s run of wins may be too late to rectify the awful results of earlier in the campaign, an x-certificate sequence that included three defeats, but Kennedy is refusing to accept anything until it is mathematically impossible for the team to lift their tenth successive flag.

A defiant assistant gaffer added: “Listen, we don’t concede anything until it’s fully done.

“We know it’s outwith our hands, we need favours elsewhere, but we’ve just got to concentrate on the performances, which hopefully lead to results, and approach every game in that manner.

“The team are in a good position now in terms of how they’re feeling about themselves, they’ve picked up a good run of wins which always helps confidence.

“Second-half, we had to grind it out, first-half, we were really comfortable.

“We were very pleased when we went in at half-time, we’d have liked to be another goal up or so, but in terms of the way we performed and the control we had of the game.

“We worked the ball into decent enough areas without maybe picking out that final pass or shot. But it was a great goal we scored, well worked all the way back from Scott Bain.

“We found David in a great area and then with the runs at the top end we gave him space to drive forward and get his shot off. A really well-worked goal.

“Second-half, they were a bit more aggressive and we probably just made some wrong decisions in terms of giving the ball away in areas we shouldn’t.

COLLISION…Scott Bain and Lewis Ferguson are grounded after a goalmouth melee with Kristoffer Ajer having something to say.

“We lacked a little bit of penetration at the top end to stretch them, so there are things for us we can look at, fix and be better at. But, ultimately, it was a really pleasing performance in the first-half.

“Second-half, we know we can do better, but the pleasing aspect was the way we finished the game when we had to defend.

“When it’s 1-0, teams are always going to throw everything at it on set-plays and crosses into the box, but we stood really strong, we defended the box really well.

“We got lots of numbers in there and saw the game out, which was important for us.

“There are two sides to it, one is our attacking play in terms of how we controlled the game and, secondly, the area we’ve not been so good in this year.

“We can’t shy away from that, in terms of our defensive game we’ve probably leaked too many goals, especially at set-plays.

“But you saw second-half that the boys were very aggressive in terms of how we defended.

“A couple of times we dropped deeper than we had to and allowed a bit of pressure in our box, but you can certainly see them putting their head on things, blocking thing and, most importantly, getting bodies around the box where you can recover balls.”

Celtic go back into action at the unusual time of 7.30pm against Ross County in Dingwall on Sunday. A repeat of the scoreline they registered back in September will be more than acceptable – a resounding 5-0 victory.


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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