Gary Hooper says ‘unbelievable’ team spirit key to Celtic’s title triumph
CELTIC striker Gary Hooper believes team spirit was the key to their Clydesdale Bank Premier League title triumph.
Hooper was on target twice as Celtic clinched the championship with a 6-0 away victory over Kilmarnock on Saturday.
Rugby Park was the venue for another crucial afternoon in Celtic’s season – they were three goals down there at half-time in October after losing to Hearts days earlier.
But an Anthony Stokes double and a late Charlie Mulgrew header earned them a point that day, before manager Neil Lennon admitted he had been considering resigning if Kilmarnock had added to their lead.
The draw came amid an inconsistent run for Lennon’s side and they fell 15 points behind Rangers on 5 November.
But Hooper secured a late winner at Motherwell the following day and they never looked back, winning the next 16 SPL games before going on to wrap up the title with five matches to spare.
“When we played at Rugby Park before, we were 3-0 down at half-time,” Hooper told the club’s official website.
“We managed to get a point that day and kicked on from there.
“And to come from 15 points behind is really good going. The team spirit is unbelievable and everyone has done their job and won the title.
“We lost to Kilmarnock in the League Cup final a few weeks ago and had to make it up to the fans and we did that by winning 6-0 and it was a brilliant performance.”
There was, however, some bad news on an otherwise triumphant weekend for Celtic after Paul George was ruled out for up to eight months with a broken leg suffered in a 3-0 SPL Under-19 win over Rangers at Murray Park.
A report on the club’s official website read: “The young Irishman sustained a fractured tibia and fibula half an hour into the game following a crude challenge from a defender.”
The 18-year-old winger made his only first-team appearance off the bench in Celtic’s 2-0 win over Ross County in the Scottish Communities League Cup in September.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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