Turnbull gets fans on their feet
THERE may not have been much for Fir Park season-ticket holders to get excited about so far this season, but in David Turnbull, they may just have found a player who is worth the admission fee alone.
A wonder-strike from the young midfielder lit up an otherwise gloomy afternoon in Lanarkshire to give Motherwell their first home win of the season and their second victory in three days after beating St Mirren during the week.
Turnbull got his first senior goal in that one, rounding off a satisfying few days for both he and his team against those immediately around them in the table.
“David Turnbull scored a marvellous goal and, [ while] we’re not getting carried away, he’s a massive talent,” said Motherwell manager, Stephen Robinson. “He’s at a very early stage of his career and is unfazed by anything – he needs to be managed properly.
“I said at the start of it that these were two big games for us and I didn’t have any doubt that we’d stand up and be counted because those are the sort of characters that I have. They gave me some super performances today.”
As for Dundee, the horror start to Jim McIntyre’s reign continues. They have now lost all four matches since he took charge, conceding 13 and failing to score at all.
Remarkably, given their plight, they started confidently and came within a whisker of an early lead as Calvin Miller’s corner was headed off the underside of the bar by Darren O’Dea.
The home side were edgy in possession and struggled to get up a head of steam up, but young Turnbull was the spark, giving Dundee a warning shot as a lovely touch allowed him to turn inside and fire just over Jack Hamilton’s bar.
Dundee were screaming for a penalty as the ball was played into the feet of Kenny Miller inside the area with his back to goal.
Tom Aldred was in close attendance, but he didn’t do enough for Miller to fall on his backside, and referee Don Robertson waved away his pleas for a spot-kick.
The rest of the first half wasn’t much to write home about, but Motherwell started the second half on the front foot, and a cracking ball from that man Turnbull released Curtis Main in the right- hand channel.
The striker’s low cross caused havoc and was almost turned into his own net by the sliding O’Dea, but Hamilton managed to flop down on the ball to stop it crossing the line.
Turnbull was at it again soon after as he threaded another great ball through into the path of Ryan Bowman, but the striker’s shot from a tight angle was weak and Hamilton saved.
Young Turnbull was finding lovely pockets of space in between the Dundee midfield and defence, and you felt that sooner or later he was going to make the visitors pay for the licence they were giving him.
The moment duly arrived with just over 20 minutes left as the 19-year-old took a pass on the turn 30 yards from goal, glanced up and unleashed an absolute rocket that was still rising as it blasted past Hamilton into the top corner.
There was no way back for the visitors, but while they may not have taken any points, they at least left with more positives than in recent weeks ahead of the crunch match against St Mirren on Saturday.
“That was much better than we have been in recent games,” said manager McIntyre. “What let us down was our final ball.
“We defended stoutly at times, far better than it has been. There was a little bit of naivety at the goal and that has come back to bite us.
“That was disappointing but there were a lot more positives. I thought that was a lot more like I want us to play. The fight they showed does give me hope.”