Celtic 'back in the groove' and have belief in SPFL title bid says David Turnbull
Celtic midfielder David Turnbull has fired a title warning to Rangers after insisting that the Parkhead side are finding their old form again ahead of the New Year showdown at Ibrox.
Saturday's 3-0 win over Hamilton was Celtic's fifth in a row, a streak which has co-incided with Turnbull's regular inclusion in the first team after taking time to make his breakthrough following his summer move from Motherwell.
But while he and Ismaila Soro have given a new dynamic to the Celtic midfield, it’s a welcome return to their old ways that is instilling belief in the Celtic dressing room that the league title is not a foregone conclusion.
“It feels like we’re getting back into the groove again,” Turnbull said. “We’re going into every game with confidence again, we’re scoring goals and winning games. It feels good.
“We had obviously been struggling, but then got the result in the Lille game and we’ve just kicked on. Everybody who has played has done well, we’re playing well as a team and hopefully we continue to do that.”
Continuity means maintaining that form against Dundee United and league leaders Rangers over the next two games, and for Turnbull to keep turning in performances like he has done throughout this month.
It is still mathematically possible for Celtic to overturn the 16-point margin their city rivals boast over the Scottish Premiership, with three games in hand and another three to come against Steven Gerrard’s team, but it requires a continuation of positive results, starting with the Tangerines on Wednesday and then the Old Firm trip to Ibrox on Saturday.
“Every game is a big game and tough. We’ll be looking to get positive results in all of our games as our aim is to really start putting a run together," Turnbull added.
“There’s obviously a belief within the dressing room that we can still win the league. We believe in each other every day and are just going to keep doing what we are doing.”
Turnbull is rekindling the form that prompted Celtic to re-visit Motherwell for his signature, a year after a first transfer bid failed and discovered a knee problem. After surgery, his return persuaded Neil Lennon to give him a second chance at a Celtic career. But his was a slow burner, starting just one match until three weeks ago when pitched in against Lille.
He scored, and Turnbull has been included ever since, adding another goal in the weekend win over Accies.
“I’d obviously scored in Europe but I was wanting the first league goal,” he said. “I want as many as I can, to keep creating chances and just contribute to the team in any way I can.
“I had shown what I could do at Motherwell and started a lot of games there. When I came here I just tried to show it in training as much as I could.
“I’m sure [Neil Lennon] knew it wasn’t a gamble or a brave decision to put me in - I always believed I could make an impact.
“When I wasn’t playing he was always talking to me, telling me to bide my time and assuring me that my chance would come. He was right, he showed faith in me and I really hope I’ve repaid that.”