Gary Hooper is no longer a goal machine - Celtic need to be more ambitious

By David Walton

May 8, 2019

The link with former goal machine Gary Hooper remains an unwelcome surprise as we get set for the summer.

Celtic interim manager Neil Lennon apparently wants to reunite with the Englishman next season. This comes not long after he was released by Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship. Just one goal in six games this season hasn’t been anywhere near enough, and Hooper was subsequently let go.

When Lennon first went for Hooper back at the end of 2010, it looked a much sexier move in footballing terms. He was firing in the Championship, and had just outscored Liverpool’s future £36million signing Andy Carroll.

Gary Hooper went goal crazy at Scunthorpe (Pete Norton/Getty Images)

Hooper had bags of potential, and signing him up from Scunthorpe was a wise move. He went on to score 82 goals for the club in three years at Parkhead.

But his stats since heading down south have been gradually on the decline. In the six years he’s been down in England, Hooper has only managed just over 50 goals. That may not sound too bad upon first hearing, but it averages out to just over eight goals each season. It’s hardly impressive stuff.

His immediate move from Parkhead to Norwich City seen him feature on 35 occasions and score just eight times. He couldn’t rediscover the fantastic 20-goal season he had with Scunthorpe back in 2009-10.

Success in England hasn’t been substantial

Hooper did follow his first Norwich campaign with a more impressive 12-goal season. But from there on, it just got worse and worse as he became unfavoured at Carrow Road.

Hooper just didn’t score enough in England (Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

The Englishman has failed to bag over 15 goals in a single campaign since moving to England. And over the last three years at Sheffield Wednesday, he’s scored six, 11, and one respectively.

If we re-sign Hooper, we’re not signing the goal machine that took Scottish football by storm. We’re signing a player so struggling for form that mid-table Championship sides are releasing him.

Hooper did a sensational job for Celtic in his first spell. He scored for the club in every competition possible, and was a terrific goalscorer during his three years in Glasgow.

Hooper’s time at Celtic has come and went (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

But if truth be told, Celtic need to be a lot more ambitious than looking at former stars. Hooper is now on the wrong side of 30, and has been lacking form for over a year now.

All the best to him in whatever he does next, but surely we can’t hang our hat on him for 10-in-a-row.