Celtic's David Turnbull shows his distress after sustaining the hamstring strain in the League Cup final little over a week ago that is likely to sideline him until March. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Celtic are fearful scan results could see David Turnbull face up to TWO months on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.
The Hoops attacking midfielder pulled up in clear discomfort during the first half of the Premier Sports Cup Final win over Hibernian earlier this month.
The 22-year-old has been a notable absentee in recent games and is now set to miss the rescheduled Old Firm derby against Rangers on February 2.
Turnbull has been a mainstay in the team under Ange Postecoglou and a lengthy absence would be a blow to the Parkhead outfit’s title prospects.
The Scotland international could also be a major doubt for the two-legged Europa Conference League ties against Norwegian side FK Bodo/Glimt on February 17 and 24.
Hamstring problems have plagued Celtic’s first-team squad this season with star man Kyogo Furuhashi also suffering a similar fate during the 3-1 win over St Johnstone on Boxing Day.
The Japanese striker limped off after just 14 minutes at McDiarmid Park to add to Postecoglou’s mounting injury list.
Albian Ajeti picked up a hamstring issue against Real Betis, while influential winger Jota missed the Cup final triumph and could also miss the Gers clash, despite undergoing his rehab programme.
Postecoglou revealed the winter break has come at the perfect time for his depleted squad with his players not in action until January 17 when the top-flight resumes.
Issuing an update on his injured stars, he admitted: “Jota’s injury was quite significant, so we don’t think we’ll see him back for a while.
“We have had the scan, but we haven’t had the results yet on David.
“We knew Kyogo wasn’t 100 per cent (going into the St Johnstone game). We said to him don’t overly risk, he felt it a little bit and we took him off. He will be fine.”
Former Aberdeen striker Noel Whelan reckons keeping Kyogo fit could prove to be the difference between winning or losing the Premiership title.
He insists Celtic must wrap the 26-year-old in cotton wool during the two-week January shutdown.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan stated: “Celtic have really got to look at him as one of their must-have players.
“He’s proved that since coming in. His movement and link-up play is excellent, and his finishing is devastating.
“They’ve got to try so hard to keep him fit. That could well involve wrapping him in cotton wool during this winter break and getting some recovery in for him.
“Celtic will need him to win football matches and in turn, the Scottish Premiership title. His intelligence is second-to-none inside the box.
“If you miss him for a long run of games, he’s one of these players that will prove pretty hard to replace and replicate. There’s not many like him.”
Meanwhile, Postecoglou could have wonderkid Kamaroko Dembele available after the break, with the winger set to return to training next week.
The 18-year-old had hoped to be part of the Australian’s plans this term but an injury to his heal sustained in a pre-season friendly against Bristol City required him to undergo an operation on the issue.
He will continue to step up his recovery under the supervision of Celtic’s medical team but could be included for their clash with Hibernian on January 17.