BRENDAN RODGERS has explained the delay in David Turnbull extending his contract beyond this summer.

The Celtic boss admits he wants to keep the gifted midfielder whose terms expire in June 2024 and talks have been ongoing.

Turnbull, though, appears to be stalling while team-mates such as Callum McGregor, Matt O’Riley, Reo Hatate, Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda, Anthony Ralston and Liel Abada have penned fresh deals at the champions.

ON THE BALL…David Turnbull displays his undoubted qualities.

Rodgers accepts the 24-year-old playmaker who cost £2.75million when Neil Lennon signed him from Motherwell in August 2020 may be looking for more regular first-team football than he has been enjoying at Parkhead in recent times.

Reflecting on the contract situation, the Hoops gaffer said: “For us, David is a player we would like to keep, so it is not us here on the club side.

“He has to do what he thinks is right for himself. At this moment in time, he is still in the last year of his contract.

“For me, unless something changes, it is just a case of as long as the players are giving their all. It only becomes a problem if I don’t see the intensity that I want, the mentality that I want.

“That’s always something I am mindful of with players in the last year of their contracts. You have to be right on it or otherwise you can drift very, very easily, and think about other things. As a manager I won’t let that happen, no matter how good anyone is.”

MOBBED…David Turnbull disappears from view as his Celtic team-mates congratulate the midfielder after his goal in the 2-1 win over St Mirren in midweek.

Rodgers, speaking to The Herald, added: “There have been talks with his agent and the club, I believe, but I’m not sure what the latest on that is.

“He’s still young, but I think when you get to that age, you do want to play and be a starter. But if you want to be a starter at Celtic, it is that intensity and ambition you need to show, every game you play.

“There is no doubt he is a talented player. You see his goal against St Mirren – there are not many can score goals of that quality.

“I really like David. He is a good guy, has good size, he moves when he wants to move, good technique.

“And he scores goals. And that is why he was in the team the other night, because he is a goal threat.”

Turnbull will be hoping to get the nod to face Ross County today after scoring a double – including a penalty-kick – in the opening-day 4-2 win over the Highlands at Parkhead in August.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and best in action images from Ross County v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

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