DAVID TURNBULL has revealed the talk with Neil Lennon that ended his £3.25million dream move to Celtic in the summer.
The Motherwell midfielder was poised to complete his big-money switch to the eight-in-a-row champions when he was given the heartbreaking news the deal was OFF.
Turnbull had had talks with Norwich City a few days beforehand and the newly-promoted Carrow Road outfit were quick to put a lucrative contract on the table.
However, the 20-year-old Fir Park ace rejected the Premier League club in the hope of sealing a move to the Hoops.
Then came the shattering announcement the player needed surgery and the deal had to be vetoed.
Celtic put the Scotland Under-21 star through a stringent medical in Manchester that uncovered an issue with the cartilage in his knee which could have jeopardised his career.
The clubs got back around the negotiating table, but were unable to strike another deal based on the new information.
Prior to the medical issue, Turnbull looked forward to playing in the green-and-white hoops and was even photographed wearing the shirt along with boss Lennon in the Parkhead boardroom.
He had met with the Irishman to discuss their plans for the upcoming campaign. Turnbull, speaking in the Daily Record, said: “I went into Lennoxtown for a meeting with Neil Lennon on a Saturday and he just spoke to me about what was going to happen with the season – what his plans were and how we were going to work.
“He took me down to meet the staff, all the boys and showed me the full place. We went into the changing rooms and all that.
“Then the physio came in and said: ‘I’m going to need to speak to you’. He told us I wouldn’t be able to train because something had come up in the medical. Lennon said: ‘Can he not even do some light running?’ The answer was no.
“They had seen something in the scan. Lennon just told me to go up the road and said it would be fine. I got a phone call on Sunday saying that I had to fly to Belgium the next day to see a specialist. It was a mad few days.
“Before we flew there, I was told I’d need an operation.”
Turnbull went under the knife in July and he spent eight months on the sidelines before his return to the Well first team.
The outstanding talent reflected on the moment his career stalled and added: “It was just weird. There was so much of: ‘Will it get done? Will it not?’
“My agent finally phoned me and said: ‘That’s it, it’s over, it isn’t happening’.
“The media folk at Motherwell were trying to phone me to get my authorisation to put a statement out and I was in my car ignoring them. I didn’t want to speak to them.
“For the first few days, my head was gone. I was just trying to let it sink in. I didn’t know what to do and my girlfriend and family looked after me.
“But you do start to realise that it was a bit of a blessing in disguise that I got the medical done and the issue showed up because it could have ended my career. I look at it that way now. It sort of saved me.”