BRENDAN RODGERS has thrown down the gauntlet to David Turnbull after the comeback Celt’s two-goal performance in the 4-2 win over Ross County yesterday.
The 24-year-old midfielder, who made only five starts last season, was in the line-up for the kick-off against the Highlanders and responded with a double, the opener coming from the penalty spot.
Rodgers, in his first competitive game after his self-imposed four-and-a-half-year exile, has told Turnbull the ball is now at his feet to win a new deal at the champions.
BACK IN THE OLD ROUTINE…Brendan Rodgers in the Celtic dug-out as he prepares for kick-off.
The Scotland international is in the final year of his contract and the second time-around gaffer insists it is entirely up to the player who cost £2.75million from Motherwell in the summer of 2020 to prove he is worth an extension.
Rodgers said: “That’s the responsibility of the player. David is a talent. He maybe hasn’t quite hit the heights of what his talent is.
“I spoke to him in pre-season and said it would be a shame if he didn’t achieve what he could at the club. But he is a player I really like.
“I love his care with the ball, his passing and his efficiency. He gets in the box, scores and could have had a hat-trick against Ross County. It is a door that is open for him. He maybe hasn’t played as much as he would like, but that is his responsibility.”
Reflecting on the somewhat nervy victory over Malky Mackay’s Dingwall battlers in which Kyogo Furuhashi and Matt O’Riley scored, Rodgers, speaking to Celtic TV, added: “When you play against a team that man marks you, it takes time to work through it.
“We got a penalty and that settled everything down. The second goal was terrific from Kyogo.
WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK…Brendan Rodgers attracts the attention of one of his players.
“Then we had a great cross from Matt and David finished it. Some of our goals were very incisive.
“I spoke a lot in pre-season about penetrating and getting in behind because we have so much speed in the team. Once you do that, you can create space in front to control the game.
“Against the ball, though, we’ll get much better – we have to.”