DAVID TURNBULL was given a returning hero’s reception from the Celtic fans when he replaced Reo Hatate in the 74th minute of the Hoops’ 4-0 win over Ross County at Parkhead on Saturday.

It was the first appearance of the popular midfielder since he limped off with a hamstring strain before the half-hour mark in the 2-1 victory over Hibs at Hampden on December 19 as Ange Postecoglou’s side claimed the first domestic silverware of the season.

And Turnbull’s timing is perfect as he eases back into the action with the team three points ahead in the pursuit of the Premiership title with seven games to go.

There is also a Scottish Cup semi-final against Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s Ibrox outfit to look forward to on Sunday April 17 with the Hoops aiming at a second celebration at the national stadium in the grand finale on May 21.

ON TARGET…David Turnbull prepares to tuck the ball into Benjamin Siegrist’s net for Celtic’s second goal in their 3-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice in early December.

Turnbull, a £2.75million buy from Motherwell in the summer of 2020, will add to the team’s firepower from midfield as he joins the likes of Tom Rogic, Matt O’Riley and Hatate.

Greg Taylor is delighted to see his team-mate returning to the side after three long and agonising months on the sidelines.

The Scotland international left-back said: “It’s another big boost to have David back.

“He’s a goal threat from midfield. We’re incredibly strong in there, but that’s what you want because it brings everyone up to a better level.

“Hopefully, David can go on and contribute the way he was at the start of the season.

“He’s a good friend of mine, as well, so I tried to keep his spirits high when he was down and he’s reacted really well and put in the work.

GAME OVER…David Turnbull is in obvious distress as a hamstring strain ends his participation in the 27th minute of the Premier Sports League Cup Final against Hibs at Hampden six days before Christmas.

“He deserves everything he gets. We knew each other from the Under-21s briefly, but once you become club team-mates, you get that wee bit closer and he’s a top player and a top friend.

“It’s been a long hard road, but I’m sure having a full Celtic Park to come back to, that’s why you do the work in your rehab.

“I was really pleased for him as all the lads were. It was a nice game for him to come on.”

Taylor, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “Everyone has contributed throughout the season, however many bodies we’ve used.

“That’ll be the same until the end of the season. Definitely. Some boys might not be called upon in terms of pitch time.

“But, equally, you can’t discount how important they are when they train the way they do. It keeps the levels high throughout the week.

“It’s definitely down to the manager and his philosophy. We’ve not looked for excuses throughout when anyone has been injured.

ON THE BALL…Greg Taylor welcomes back team-mate and pal David Turnbull after his enforced three-month absence.

“It’s just another hurdle to jump over and we’re aiming to do that until the end of the season.

“You still see everyone. You’re not out of the picture because you’re injured. You’re still seeing everyone every day and you try to ask how the rehab is going on, etc.

“Hopefully, for them, they get back as quickly as they can.”

Celtic go back into Premiership action again at Ibrox on Sunday April 3 in their bid for a tenth crown in 11 years.

Turnbull will be eager to make a contribution.

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