David Turnbull admits Celtic confidence is battered and games are "tough"
Manager Neil Lennon did not seek to make any for a 2-1 defeat framed by a pitiful first half he declared “short of energy, short of confidence, short of any sort of quality at all”. He was being kind over shortcomings that should have brought an end to a tenure that has left him entirely unloved in the role.
However, there have to be some reasons in their catastrophic season for the fact that Celtic yield in the face of set-backs that once were simply triggers to redouble efforts and find a higher gear. Reasons for on-loan Brighton defender Shane Duffy’s propensity to make laughable defensive errors - as he was guilty of in both the Paisley club’s first half strikes.
It might chill that midfielder David Turnbull was willing to acknowledge how the nine-times title winners have become a miles-off second to a champions-elect Rangers now boasting a monstrous 23 point advantage. A gap stretched in the past month because Lennon’s men have been reduced to a side that, with only six points from their past six league games, have a poorer record over this span of matches than all but Hamilton Accies, Dundee United and Motherwell in the Premiership.
Turnbull did so with an arresting admission when asked whether the team’s confidence had taken a battering. “I would say so. Personally it’s tough going into games at the moment,” he said. “It’s hard to keep yourselves going when you are going behind and you know you need to get it back. But we need to get that out of our heads. We need to keep pushing and make sure we play better, simple as that. We know it’s difficult with the league but we have to play for pride. If there’s no pride there then there’s no point in even playing football. We need to keep trying and keeping pushing, to play as a team. We need to stick together and hopefully everyone does that.”
There is zero chance of that. Celtic, as a club, are more fractured on all fronts than a shattered windscreen - whether that be with relations among the squad, between them and a manager who has effectively accused them of chucking it, that manager and the support who can’t believe he is still in post, and the board and that fanbase frazzled over the power shift and failure to compete for a 10th straight title that has happened on their watch.
Turnbull was asked if he could detect that players were letting Lennon down, as the beleaguered manager had claimed following the St Mirren reverse. A comment that might not help him pick them up for Tuesday’s hazardous trip to a Kilmarnock side now managerless after Alex Dyer was removed in the immediate aftermath of his team’s 3-2 home defeat to St Johnstone on Saturday. “Not really,” said the 21-year-old. “That’s the manager’s opinion and it’s not for me to comment on what he says or thinks. But we do owe the manager to pick this up. We try to do it every week – to keep fighting. That’s what the boys are trying to do.”
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