IT TOOK three months for David Turnbull to claim a hat-trick against Ross County, so that emphasises the midfielder’s powers of persistence.

And the 24-year-old playmaker is hoping that resilience will earn him a place in Brendan Rodgers’ starting line-up against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Group E encounter tomorrow night.

Back on August 5 in the Premiership opener at Parkhead, Turnbull took centre stage when he netted a double – including a penalty-kick – in the 4-2 win over the Highlanders.

And he rifled in a low drive of unerring accuracy to break the deadlock in Dingwall at the weekend to inspire the Hoops to a 3-0 success with other goals from Luis Palma and James Forrest to push Scotland’s title kings eight points clear at the top of the table.

WALLOP…David Turnbull lashes in Celtic’s opener against Ross County at the weekend.

The five times-capped Scotland international, a £2.75million buy from Motherwell by Neil Lennon in the summer of 2020, will be a free agent in June next year, but is blocking out all talk of a new deal as he focuses solely on maintaining his level of performance at the champions.

Quizzed about his contract situation, Turnbull answered: “To be honest, I just leave it to the club and those who are involved with it.

“I just try to do my talking on the pitch. Every game I play, I want to give my all and try to create chances and score goals.

“You can overthink things in life and in football, especially. It is just about focusing on each game at a time. We have a lot of games coming up thick and fast, so I’m just focusing on all of them.

“Once you get into the team, you need to take your chance.

HIGHLAND FLING…David Turnbull celebrates his exquisite strike in Dingwall.

“There is a lot of competition for places. You need to nail down your spot and do your best for the team. I just try to do that in every game that I am in.”

Turnbull has claimed five goals this season, including the crucial equaliser in the 2-1 home triumph over St Mirren last midweek. He sparked conjecture about his bizarre celebration when he stuck fingers in his ears.

Asked about the gesture, the stylish performer, speaking to the Daily Record, replied: “Yeah. It’s one of those ones. I’ve scored a goal and I was obviously delighted.

“But sometimes you do, boys get a bit of criticism here and there and you try and block it out as much as you can. So, that’s all I was trying to do.”

Turnbull has yet to kick a ball in Europe’s elite competition with Rodgers starting with his tried and trusted trio of skipper Callum McGregor, Matt O’Riley and Reo Hatate in the three outings so far.

When the Japanese ace was forced to come off after seven minutes in the 2-2 draw with Atletico, it was on-loan Benfica star Paulo Bernardo who got the nod to go on.

UP, UP AND AWAY…David Turnbull is congratulated by his joyous team-mates Anthony Ralston and Daizen Maeda after his excellent opening strike against County.

It was the same scenario in the 2-1 home loss to Lazio and Rodgers opted for Norwegian Odin Holm when he replaced Hatate against Feyenoord in Rotterdam in the opening game of the section.

Unfortuately, the substitution backfired when the inexperienced Norwegian flew into a wayward challenge and was the second Celt to be red-carded on the night as he joined Gustaf Lagerbielke, dismissed just a few minutes earlier in the 2-0 defeat.

Turnbull is now ready to stand up and be counted in the Spanish capital and, reflecting on the game in Dingwall, he added: “I was pleased and pleased with the goal, obviously.

“In terms of my performance, I felt I did well.”

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