Football

Hooper return lifts Hoops

Hooper return lifts Hoops (©PAphotos)
Hooper return lifts Hoops (©PAphotos).

Manager Neil Lennon praised the collective improvement of his Celtic side after a 3-0 win at Hibernian consolidated their position at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League table - but reserved special praise for returning striker Gary Hooper

Hooper, making his return from an ankle injury which it was originally feared could rule him out for the season, opened the scoring on the stroke of half time, before Anthony Stokes claimed a brace against his old club.

"He gives the whole team a lift," said Lennon of Hooper

"There were some big improvements in performance," he continued. "(James) Forrest, (Mark) Wilson, (Scott) Brown gave us what we know."

Lennon also praised Stokes, but believes the striker should have netted a third.

"He's an instinctive player and that will have done him the world of good," added the Celtic boss. Second half he was excellent. He was full of running and really should've got his hat-trick."

Lennon was up against one of his former managers in Colin Calderwood, who was the Celtic boss' manager at Nottingham Forest. Calderwood again lamented the defensive weakness of his side, who have won just twice during his 13 game tenure at Easter Road

"It's like a spinning wheel of mistakes and we're going through the full repertoire," he said.

"The thing that makes it hard is that rotates around the players, but you accept that because we're a team.

"We should control that last period of the first half a lot better - the last thing you needed was the goal."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Football
Anthony Stokes
Premier League
Neil Lennon
Nottingham Forest
Gary Hooper

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