Hooper committed to Celtic

Striker wants to play in Champions League

Gary Hooper: Wants to stay at Celtic

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Gary Hooper says he is happy to stay at Celtic and fulfil his ambition of playing in the UEFA Champions League.

Hooper had been linked with a move to Southampton in January which would reunite him with his former manager at Scunthorpe, Nigel Adkins.

Those rumours have resurfaced this week after the Saints sealed promotion back to the top flight with 4-0 win over Coventry.

Hooper scored on his Celtic debut in a 2-1 Champions League qualifier win over Braga, but the Glasgow side still went out 4-2 on aggregate.

After getting a taster of Europe's top club competition, the 24-year-old is determined to help Celtic reach the group stage next season.

When asked about the Southampton speculation, Hooper told the Evening Times: "There are always rumours about that.

"But I have two years left on my contract, I am scoring goals and I am loving my football.

Happy

"There is a big chance for us to play Champions League football next season and that has been a personal ambition of mine for a long time.

"I loved playing in the Europa League this season and I think the game away to Udinese is one of the highlights of my career. I would love the chance to sample the Champions League now."

The Englishman scored his 24th goal of the season in the 3-0 Old Firm victory on Sunday and he added: "I am happy playing for Celtic and yesterday just underlined that.

"The crowd, the atmosphere, the feeling when you score at Celtic Park - I think it is amazing.

"A lot of people have said we can't handle big games, but I think we dominated the game and kept the ball and I don't think Rangers had many chances at all."