The midfielder was left devastated as he received 27th-minute on-field treatment from the Hampden decider, before TV footage captured him in floods of tears as he sat on the bench after been replaced by Nir Bitton. Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou explained that the 22-year-old had “suffered from the amount of games we are playing at the moment…we suffered because we couldn’t shoot”. Now it has emerged that Turnbull’s suffering may not be short-term, with the injury believed to be serious enough to require an extended spell on the sidelines.
The minimum two-month deadline would count Turnbull out of Rangers’ rescheduled accommodation for the Postecoglou side on Feb. 2, and Conference League fixtures to determine the full roster for the final 16 legs of the new competition. These will see Celtic entertain Norwegian champions Bodo/Glimt on February 17, before playing the Scandinavian return leg a week later.
Only seven players in world football had played more competitive minutes than Turnbull when he was sidelined at Hampden. At this stage, the £3.5m signing from Motherwell in the summer of 2020 was the only member of the Celtic squad to have featured in each of the 34 competitive games the club had played by then. A run that has earned him nine goals and seven assists and has earned him 2,840 minutes on the pitch since July.
Postecoglou relied heavily on Tom Rogic and Turnbull for the creative core of his team. He hopes the reinforcements planned for the January transfer window can compensate for the loss of one of his integral performers for a series of tests. A sequence which, before the end of February, will take Celtic to Tynecastle, Fir Park, Pittodrie and Easter Road, in addition to a pivotal derby and assignments in the European and Scottish Cups.