Neil Lennon wants Gary Hooper stay

Lennon wants Hooper stay
© PA Photos
Neil Lennon is hoping that Celtic will be able to convince Gary Hooper to stay at the club for at least another season.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has expressed his eagerness to keep hold of Gary Hooper beyond the end of the current campaign.

The 24-year-old was the subject of numerous bids from Norwich City during the January transfer window and while the Canaries are no longer thought to be interested, Hooper's services have been linked with a host of English clubs.

However, Lennon has revealed his hope that the club will be able to put together a financial package that will entice the striker into signing a new contract at Parkhead.

"I haven't really spoken to his agent lately at length but I would like to keep Gary here because he is such an important player," said Lennon. "Goalscorers are at a premium, he is only 24 and has got 28 goals this season, 18 in the league.

"He is two short of having 20-plus goals in the league for the third consecutive season which shows what an important, pivotal player he has been.

"We don't want to break the wage structure because one thing that is important is team spirit. These players, who are not on huge money, have raised the bar here over the last couple of years but we will do what we can to keep him."

Hooper claimed a brace as Celtic defeated Inverness Caledonian Thistle 4-1 earlier today to win the Scottish Premier League title.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon before his side's match against Juventus on March 6, 2013
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