DAVID TURNBULL kicked off this season in the Celtic first team ahead of Reo Hatate.

The gifted midfielder proved Brendan Rodgers’ judgement correct when he netted a double in the Premiership opening-day 4-2 win over Ross County at Parkhead on August 5.

Turnbull, though, was anchored among the substitutes in the 2-1 Champions League loss against Lazio in midweek.

Rodgers turned to on-loan Benfica youngster Paulo Bernardo to replace Reo Hatate in the 72nd minute of a must-win encounter.

JOY BHOYS…David Turnbull and Daizen Maeda celebrate the first of the midfielder’s double in the 4-2 win over Ross County at Parkhead in August.

The Scotland international appears to have faded fairly quickly from the first-team focus in what is a crucial campaign for the player.

Turnbull was signed by ex-boss Neil Lennon from Motherwell for £2.75million in August 2019 and is out of contract in the summer.

The champions have, of course, been working diligently signing players on new long-term deals, but the playmaker seems to have come off the radar.

Skipper Callum McGregor, Japanese trio Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda and Hatate, Matt O’Riley, Liel Abada and Scots duo Anthony Ralston and Stephen Welsh have all penned enhanced terms.

Reports insist Cameron Carter-Vickers and Greg Taylor are next in line for offers from the Hoops hierarchy.

Turnbull has not been mentioned in recent bulletins which is a bit of a mystery considering the obvious talents of the 24-year-old middle-of-the-park performer.

He will be free to talk to interested parties in three months’ time and could agree a pre-contract unless the Parkhead bosses move to tie him down on new deal at Scotland’s title kings.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report from Celtic v Kilmarnock this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.  

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