Gary Hooper looks back on "amazing" Celtic experience; remembers title success
Former Celtic striker Gary Hooper has been reflecting fondly on his previous experiences at Parkhead.
Hooper was a hero during his spell in Glasgow between 2010 and 2013, notching 112 direct goal contributions in 138 Parkhead appearances (Transfermarkt). Throughout his time in Scotland, Hooper also managed two Scottish Premier League titles and two Scottish Cups.
However, individually, he managed to bag goals in so many massive fixtures for the club. The Englishman netted in the Champions League, the Europa League, Glasgow derby fixtures and in cup finals too.
His influence during Neil Lennon’s first spell as manager was tremendous, and speaking to Sportskeeda, Hooper picked out his most memorable goal with the Hoops as he looked back on his time here:
“I’ve played against a few of the best players in the world in the Champions League. It was an amazing experience as these players are on another level in terms of their skill and mentality. They are prepared and always turn up in the big games.
“We were unlucky to miss out on the league during my first season. But it was a very nice feeling to lift the trophy twice in a row later. And of course, it was extra special for me to win the Golden Boot after scoring five goals in the last game of the season (vs Hearts)
“So far, the most memorable goal of my career is against Spartak Moscow in the Champions League at Celtic Park, which helped us reach the round of 16 stage.”
Hooper’s career deserved more
When Hooper left Parkhead for Norwich in the summer of 2013, it never felt like the right move for his career. That proved to be correct as he struggled shine at Carrow Road.
Since then, Hooper’s career has been on a bit of a downward spiral. A three-year spell with Sheffield Wednesday reaped some positive headlines, but promotion back to the English Premier League eluded him.
Now, the former Celtic striker is plying his trade with Indian side Kerala Blasters after a short spell with Wellington Phoenix in New Zealand. It’s certainly not where Hoops would’ve imagined himself operating at during this stage of his career 10 years ago.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where things went wrong for one of Lennon’s first-ever Celtic signings. Even if his move to Norwich looked premature, you still would’ve backed him to score regularly. However, a six-goal season in his first Premier League campaign flattered to deceive.
From there on injuries have certainly played their part, and it’s just felt as though Hooper has never really managed to catch the attention he managed during his Celtic days.
Hopefully, he can end his career strong with Kerala Blasters in India and make a positive name for himself over there. But his career will always be looked back on by supporters with regret. Gary could’ve done so much more.
In other news, 67HailHail writer John McGinley highlights Lennon’s comments on conspiracy theories – but states the manager didn’t help himself back in August.