Celtic boss praises board for holding onto star striker

Gary Hooper Celtic forward

Neil Lennon expressed his gratitude to the Celtic board after they resisted several big money bids from Norwich for Gary Hooper, Sky Sports reports.

Canaries boss Chris Hughton was rebuffed five times during the January transfer window as he sought to bring Hooper to Carrow Road with reports suggesting his final offer was in the region of £9.5million.

That would have represented a significant return on the £2.4m the SPL champions paid to Scunthorpe for the prolific 25-year-old in July 2010 as Parkhead chiefs stubbornly refused to budge with Lennon delighted to retain his 23-goal top scorer for now.

“I think we made our stance pretty clear,” the Bhoys manager said.

“I don’t think a lot of people believed us but we want to keep this team together for the foreseeable future.

“Gary is a huge part of that and I’m very grateful to the board for standing by our decision on that.

“We look forward to a great second half to the season now.”

Hooper is known to be frustrated that he is still waiting for his first England cap despite his impressive goalscoring form North of the border and could leave Celtic in the summer for a Premier League club to enhance his international prospects.

His contract expires in 18-months and the offer of an extension has been turned down. The Scottish club believe they can get a better price for him when the season ends and could move for Kevin Doyle as a replacement after having a Deadline Day approach rejected.

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