THE standout performances that Ismaila Soro and David Turnbull produced in the 3-2 win over Lille in the Europa League on Thursday night have increased their prospects of featuring for Celtic in the coming weeks greatly.

At the same time, they have made it that bit harder for Scott Brown, Ryan Christie, Callum McGregor, Olivier Ntcham and Tom Rogic to get into Neil Lennon’s starting line-up.

Indeed, it is impossible to say with any certainty which members of that septet will get the nod from Lennon to play in midfield against Kilmarnock in the crucial Premiership fixture at Parkhead tomorrow.

McGregor, though, is delighted at the challenge which he and his fellow first team regulars now face. He believes it will improve performance levels, increase consistency and enable the Scottish champions to emerge from the slump in form that has seen them fall 13 points behind Rangers in the title race.

“That is what we need – boys to come in and really keep pushing the standard,” he said. “Competition for places really drives the standard. It helps everyone raise their game. We need as many people as we can on the pitch and playing well. It is better for Celtic.”

With Brown rested and Christie suspended, Soro and Turnbull kicked off the Group H game against Lille for Celtic in the deep-lying central midfield and playmaker roles respectively.

The Ivorian, who was starting his first game for the Glasgow club nearly a year after joining, wasn’t fazed by the quality of the visitors and made a series of important blocks, interceptions and tackles in the middle of the park during the 90 minutes.

Ahead of him, his Scottish team mate had a hand in the first two goals, opened his own account when he stroked home the winner with 15 minutes remaining and generally showed why it required a £3.25m transfer fee to prise him away from Motherwell in the summer.

McGregor was unsurprised at the impact the duo made having seen at close quarters what they have to contribute during training sessions at Lennoxtown. He envisages them being involved on a weekly basis going forward.

“David was excellent,” he said. “He played intelligently in the pockets of space. He was quite focal for us. There was a nice wee channel in there where he could find space and get on the ball. I thought the boys found him well on the half turn. When he got it he looked a real threat.

“Right throughout the game, he picked the right pass. He knew when to dribble and when to pass. Then obviously he got his goal. It was a great finish as well.

“He is a great lad, he has done really well since he came in and has trained very well. He has trained hard. He wants to learn and is learning from the players each day. His attitude is spot on. He was just waiting for that opportunity – and he grabbed it with both hands on Thursday night. I am delighted for him.

“There is no reason why he can’t get a bit of confidence from the goal and the performance and really kick on. Hopefully we can keep pushing him, keep getting him in the team and he can keep delivering for us. That is exactly what we need at this point.

"Soro was excellent too. He's a real talent. You saw the amount of times he won the ball back. He's incredible. That is his game. He wins the ball and plays simple. He looks a top player. He's been unlucky, but you need to keep working every day and his time will come. Hopefully he starts to get a run because we need everyone playing well.”

Having another two players vying for a place in the Celtic midfield would be hard for a lesser individual to take at this stage. The Parkhead club have been lambasted by their own supporters for their woeful form in the past two months. But McGregor is well placed to withstand whatever life in the East End throws at him now after seven seasons in the side.

The Scotland internationalist is optimistic that the Lille result is a turning point in their campaign and predicted they will actually benefit from the difficult spell they have endured in the long run.

“It is part of football,” he said. “I have been here a long time. It is a challenge we have to accept. You have to try and stay calm. We can’t get caught up in it.

“Football is never, ever perfect. You get games where you are off it, you don’t play so well, you maybe drop points or lose games. That is football. It is human beings playing the sport and every now and again they are entitled to have a dip.

“But our mentality has to be the quicker we can fix that and get things right the better. We need to stay humble and keep working. If we do that we know it will turn around in our favour. That is for us. We can’t control anything else that is going on on the outside.

“We are professional footballers, we want to win, of course we do, everyone in the building wants to win. We have to do everything we can in every game to keep improving and come out the other end of this as a better team.

“Hopefully we can use Thursday night as a catalyst to go forward. The most important thing is we have experienced it, we stay humble and we keep building from here. We have to put these performances together now and go on a run.”