Celtic midfielder David Turnbull raises eyes with Rangers result claim and fires ominous warning

David Turnbull’s post-match claim that Celtic did not know how Rangers had fared in Paisley when they took the field against Ross County certainly raised an eyebrow.

David Turnbull skilfully slots home to make it 1-1 against Ross County in Celtic's eventual 2-1 victory. "Now we have to kick on," he later warned.   (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)(Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
David Turnbull skilfully slots home to make it 1-1 against Ross County in Celtic's eventual 2-1 victory. "Now we have to kick on," he later warned. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)(Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Admittedly there were nine minutes added on at the end, but, even then, the earlier game finished at shortly before 2.30pm. The Celtic players were still out warming up. The expectation levels in and around Celtic Park, already high, shot up further.

An extra frisson was easily discernible and it couldn't all be linked to the special licence Celtic had obtained to sell alcohol in the Jock Stein Stand concourse between 11am and 1pm on the day of the game, in what was a small step towards treating Scottish football fans like adults – or, indeed, rugby supporters.

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Excitement was certainly palpable in the car park as supporters locked their cars with an extra flourish having lingered long enough to listen to the end of Rangers' 1-1 draw with St Mirren.

A six-point lead at the top at this juncture would have been welcome enough. But Celtic now had the chance to extend it to nine. In truth, James Tavernier’s late penalty equaliser hadn’t made a jot(a) of difference. What’s one point when Celtic have only dropped three all season? But Turnbull stressed he and his teammates were none the wiser about Rangers' latest troubles.

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“By the time we got here, we were just concentrating on getting ready and getting focused on our own game,” he said. “We didn’t get to see it. We caught up with it after the game.”

This might have been stretching the credulity of those listening to the absolute limit – after all, the Celtic Park Tannoy announcer relayed the score at half-time in slightly hammy style. Still, it is understandable if Ange Postecoglou had indeed preferred to shield his players from the result. The Celtic manager wouldn’t have wanted to risk any degree of drop off in performance.

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There was growing concern in the stands that this chance to pull even further ahead of Rangers was going to be wasted when Ross County’s David Cancola converted a controversial penalty award shortly after half-time. But goals from Turnbull himself, after 62 minutes, and Sead Haksabanovic six minutes later secured the points.

“I don’t think the gaffer or any of the boys focus on the league table, we focus on ourselves and try to get three points in every game,” said Turnbull.

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“We take each game as it comes, so we don’t really look at the table. There is plenty of motivation for the boys every week. The league title is a motivation. Every game we play we are always ready to go and play our game style. So far it is going well.”

That's an understatement. Nine domestic wins in a row, 16 domestic wins in 17, including a 4-0 win over Rangers. Alarmingly for the Ibrox side, as well as others, Turnbull believes Celtic will only get better after the World Cup interlude. He genuinely suggested they might "kick on" when they return – although it's hard to kick on from an already near-perfect record.

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“Hopefully we will have most of the boys back from injury after it,” said Turnbull. “The break will do us good and then we want to come back firing on all cylinders.”

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