Hooper hopes key men stay

Striker insists he is happy to be part of Celtic's plans

Gary Hooper: Celtic striker is hoping the SPL club's squad remains intact during the January transfer window

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Gary Hooper is hoping Celtic can keep their squad intact during the January transfer window after the striker and several of his team-mates were linked with moves to England.

Former Scunthorpe United forward Hooper is rumoured to be a target for Newcastle United, while the likes of James Forrest and Adam Matthews are also mooted to be on the radar of Premier League clubs.

However, Hooper has stressed he is happy to stay at Parkhead and is optimistic that Neil Lennon's squad will not be broken up in the New Year.

"I hope the squad stays together," said Hooper in the Daily Record.

"I am not going anywhere and I don't think those boys are going anywhere. I'm really happy here."

Freshened up

Meanwhile, Hooper is also pleased with the way he has responded to being dropped from the starting line-up by Lennon after scoring as a substitute in Celtic's last two games.

Hooper, who was axed after last month's 0-0 draw with Hibernian, added: "I thought I took the decision quite well. I was put on the bench, came on and scored.

"The gaffer changed it and it worked. Maybe I needed it. He freshened it up and in the last two games I've come on and scored so I think I've done well.

"It's down to the gaffer who plays but maybe I needed a break. The fact we've won the last two games shows it has worked.

"After the Hibs game he singled out Stokesy and myself but I thought we took what he said on board because we both scored goals after that.

"In the European game I stepped up my game and scored after coming on. We then both scored against Motherwell so it worked, the gaffer getting on our back.

"You just need to take it and do better. You need to work harder at your game and I feel we've done that."