Ex-Celtic striker Gary Hooper's next move confirmed

By David Walton

June 15, 2021

Former Celtic striker Gary Hooper has confirmed his next move as he completed a return to Wellington Phoenix.

Hooper spent a year with the New Zealand-based outfit back in the 2019/20 campaign. He left on good terms too after firing home eight goals in 21 appearances [Transfermarkt].

The Englishman has been without a club since leaving Indian side Kerala Blasters several days ago. However, he’s been confirmed as returning to Wellington as the 33-year-old continues to try and reinvigorate his career.

Celtic fans still remember Hooper fondly for his time in Scotland between 2010 and 2013. During his three years at Parkhead, he smashed home a superb 82 goals in 138 appearances [Transfermarkt].

There was even speculation of a potential Parkhead return back in the summer of 2019 [Scottish Sun]. However, Hooper has continued to expand his horizons elsewhere, and returns to Wellington looking to recapture his form once again.

Gary Hooper deserves credit for unorthodox moves

You have to credit Hooper for having the courage to try something different. Since leaving Sheffield Wednesday in 2019, he’s been open to some of the more unorthodox moves in football.

Hooper has tasted game-time now in both New Zealand and India. It’s not how he would’ve viewed his career path when he left Celtic eight years ago. But he’s managing to maximise his career length is clearly opening himself up to whatever opportunities come his way.

Gary Hooper is back with Wellington Phoenix (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

At 33, Hooper still has a bit left in the legs. Should he be able to recapture the form he showed last time in Wellington, it could open up more opportunities for him to prolong his career further at a higher level.

Regardless, he’s well admired and respected by the Celtic support for what he achieved in Glasgow. Hooper managed to net in vital games including derby goals, Europa League and Champions League goals, and cup final goals.

Fingers crossed he can give his career a deserved boost after a disappointing spell in India. He still has the quality to do just that.

In other news, the Celtic vs Rangers dates for next season have been confirmed.