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Robinson admits "surprise" over Turnbull's aborted exit for Celtic

Robinson admits
© Reuters
The 20-year-old Motherwell midfielder has undergone preventative surgery to fix a knee problem.

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson has told David Turnbull to imagine how good he will be now he has rectified the problem that scuppered a move to Celtic.

A £3milllion move collapsed last month when a scan discovered a slight tear in the knee area that could have gone unnoticed throughout Turnbull's career, or could have developed into a far more serious problem.

The 20-year-old has undergone preventative surgery to fix the issue, which had never caused him any pain or presented itself, and it is hoped he will be back playing before the end of the year.

Turnbull hit 15 league goals after breaking into the Motherwell team in October last year so Robinson is excited about the prospect of the midfielder returning with a new lease of life.

"He is on the road to recovery," Robinson said.

"It was a big surprise to everybody. We thought we had lost a top footballer. We had to get the operation done, his health is more important than anything, and we are confident we will get a very good player back again.

"And hopefully we will get the true value out of him on the pitch for Motherwell and the true value of what we believe he is worth in a few months time.

"It was more a preventative operation, it's been a massive success, and David will be back. You don't lose your ability.

"I said to him: 'Imagine how good you are going to be now'.

"I'm very confident David will be back playing at the top of his game."

The transfer saga took several weeks with Turnbull initially delaying further talks with Celtic to speak with Norwich before deciding on a move to Glasgow which never materialised.

Robinson said: "I didn't have a whole lot to do with it. When bids were accepted I spoke to David, and David's not a man of many words so he didn't say too much.

"He is quite cool and composed, he has a good family behind him, he's got a lot of support from staff here.

"It's a difficult one for the boy, he has dealt with it and he will deal with it and will continue to get our support."

The loss of Turnbull through injury comes on top of the departures of Jake Hastie, Curtis Main, Gboly Ariyibi and Alex Gorrin, who were all regular starters in the midfield and forward areas after Christmas.

But Robinson has brought in eight players with another winger, Austrian Christian Ilic, set to follow once paperwork on his transfer is completed.

"We lost all our wide players so that was the biggest recruitment for us, and I believe we have done that well," he said ahead of Saturday's Betfred Cup opener away to Queen of the South.

"We look back from Christmas onwards and we were third in the form table. It doesn't count for anything, tables don't start in January.

"But we had a lot of pace and energy out wide and played a lot of good football, created a lot of chances and were good to watch.

"We have continued to do that and bring in players who will complement what we did last season and take us on another step."

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