Brendan Rodgers has experimented with multiple midfielders over the last few weeks, as he looks to find the solution to Reo Hatate’s absence.
Hatate picked up the injury just five minutes into Celtic’s Champions League draw with Atlético Madrid at Celtic Park and isn’t expected back until after Christmas.
The 26-year-old will only be back in action for the Hoops for a couple of weeks as he could potentially be jetting off as part of the Japan squad for the Asian Cup which runs from 12th January until 10th February.
Hatate’s prolonged absence means Brendan Rodgers has to find the answer to his midfield conundrum soon. Odin Thiago Holm, David Turnbull and Paulo Bernardo have all been tried and tested in starting positions over the last few weeks, but it looks like David Turnbull might be the best option out of the three.
The former Motherwell man is yet to start a Champions League game for Celtic, but he should be in line for his maiden start for tonight’s must-win match in Rome against Lazio.
Attacking output this season
Turnbull has been in tremendous goalscoring form in the Premiership this season, especially given the limited minutes from starting positions that he has had.
In 11 league appearances he has notched seven goals, an impressive number for a midfield player that equates to 1.16 goals per 90 minutes. He is currently tied for the top scorer in the Scottish Premiership, and given he has only started in seven matches this season, it is an incredible feat.
Turnbull always seems to find himself in the right areas and having a clinical finisher from midfield will be key for the trip to Rome where chances will prove to be at a premium.
Clinical from distance
The standout quality in David Turnbull’s game has always been his long-distance shooting. He can pick out the back of the net from virtually anywhere and it hasn’t slowed down this season, with three of his seven goals coming from outside the box.
One thing that this writer in particular has been wanting to see more of from Celtic in Europe this season has been a willingness to gamble with long-range efforts.
Against tough, often world-class opposition it is going to be incredibly difficult to break them down and create high quality chances, so having someone like Turnbull in the team who has strong long-distance finishing in his locker is a valuable asset to have in this side.
Best of the rest
Fans have had the chance to see Paulo Bernardo, Odin Thiago Holm and David Turnbull all deputise from starting positions over the last few weeks and to varied levels of success.
Whilst being a steady option, Bernardo has failed to set the world alight when he has featured. Holm impressed against Aberdeen but the game passed him by against Motherwell on Saturday.
Of all of the options available at this current moment to slot into that final spot in the midfield, David Turnbull has arguably had the best start to the season and it should be rewarded with a start against Lazio tonight.
JAMES MCKENZIE // Follow James HERE