Hooper boost for Hoops

Striker shakes off knock and could figure against Udinese

Hooper: Has shaken off a leg problem much quicker than expected

Celtic have been handed a timely boost ahead of their meeting with Udinese after striker Gary Hooper declared himself ready for action.

The Hoops are set to face Italian foes in the Europa League on Thursday.

They had expected to enter that fixture without Hooper's services after seeing him pick up a leg injury in a 2-0 victory over Inverness on Saturday.

He has, however, shaken off the knock quicker than expected and has put himself in contention for a starting berth at Parkhead.

Celtic confirmed on their official website that Hooper will train with the rest of the squad on Tuesday and will be considered by boss Neil Lennon for midweek duty.

Hooper is hoping to play some part against Udinese as he admits European nights in Glasgow are a bit special.

Speaking to the official match programme for the continental clash, Hooper said: "It's going to be a big night and hopefully it's a full crowd.


"The fans were great on Saturday and hopefully they will be the same against Udinese.

"They lift the players and get behind us and they're loud, and they sing in their numbers.

"We needed them on Saturday and we will need them on Thursday to get behind us and lift us, and we will need to be at our best if we want to keep our run of games going and do well."

Celtic's win over Inverness followed an identical triumph over Ross County in the Scottish Communities League Cup and Hooper wants to continue bouncing back from successive defeats.

Celtic went down 2-0 to Atletico Madrid in Spain in their first group game in the Europa League before suffering a 4-2 loss to Rangers at Ibrox in the opening Old Firm game of the SPL campaign.

Hooper said: "We want to do well in the league and in Europe and we want to try and win every game in every competition.

"Atletico Madrid was a tough game but now we are on our home turf and we can keep attacking, see what they've got, and go from there."