DAVID TURNBULL has been branded “excellent” by Brendan Rodgers in acknowledgement of the midfielder’s form during the pre-season games.

The Scotland international has impressed the returning Hoops boss and he caught the eye again with a composed finish for the winning goal against Athletic Bilbao in James Forrest’s testimonial match at Parkhead.

The 24-year-old playmaker netted four times in 28 appearances, mainly from the subs’ bench, last season as he struggled for game time in Ange Postecoglou’s line-up that was top heavy with midfield talent with the likes of skipper Callum McGregor, Reo Hatate, Matt O’Riley, Aaron Mooy and Tomoki Iwata in contention every match day.

PICK IT OUT…David Turnbull sweeps in the winning goal in the 3-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao in James Forrest testimonial match. 

Turnbull was signed by Neil Lennon from Motherwell for £2.75million in August 2020 and is going into his final 12 months of his contract in what is a make-or-break year for the astute middle-of-the park operator.

Norwegian Odin Thiago Holm and South Korean Kwon Hyeon-kyu have been added to the midfield squad in recent weeks, but it appears the Scot will be given every opportunity to show what he can deliver in the top side on a consistent level.

Reflecting on Turnbull’s display against the Spaniards following the player’s introduction after the interval, Rodgers said: “David was excellent on Tuesday night, he was very good.

“He’s been good in pre-season, I have to say. He was also excellent in Japan. I really like him as a footballer, he’s got tools, he’s comfortable on the ball and he can score goals.

“His efficiency is very good. He just needs to keep working and to keep on the move.”

HOOP HOOP HOORAY…David Turnbull is congratulated by new Bhoy Odin Thiago Holm after his matchwinner against Athletic Bilbao. Matt O’Riley and Alexandro Bernabei are about to join in. Images courtesy Celtic TV.

The Irishman, speaking to the Daily Record, continued: “It’s always important with those players that they don’t turn the engine off, you’ve got to keep working.

“Like I said, I’ve been impressed with David.”

Rodgers utilised 22 players in the 3-2 victory over the La Liga club and has been left to ponder as he puts together his squad for the Premiership opener against Ross County in the east end of Glasgow on Saturday with a 12.30pm kick-off.

The Hoops gaffer, as CQN reported, added: “A lot of these guys I don’t know, so for me there is a clean slate for them all. It’s assessing over the course of pre-season, what they’ve done in the past doesn’t really matter.

“That includes the guys who have worked with me before. In order to have that hunger, that’s how it has to be.”

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