'World-class' Gary Hooper sets up Celtic for daunting Barcelona double

 

Kris Commons believes his Celtic team-mate Gary Hooper has great potential after the striker marked his first Champions League start with a goal in their 3-2 win over Spartak Moscow on Tuesday.

Hooper's first-time finish set Celtic up for their first away victory in the group stages of the competition. Georgios Samaras, who was making his first start since recovering from an elbow injury sustained on international duty with Greece last month, scored the late winner.

The Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, described Hooper's performance as "world class" after his striker scored his seventh goal in four games. He also set up Celtic's second, and his movement and alertness to receive a short free-kick paved the way for Emilio Izaguirre to cross for the last-minute winner by Samaras. Hooper's pace also led to a red card for Juan Insaurralde when Spartak were 2-1 ahead.

"When he [Gary] puts his mind to it, he can be anything," said Commons. "He has great movement, he is a natural goalscorer, he leads the line well and he is so strong. Even if his marker is quicker than him, he puts his body in positions and gets away from him and he has vision as well. Not many strikers have got great vision but he always seems to set me up for goals as well, which is good."

Commons says Celtic's chances of reaching the Champions League knockout stages are "a lot better than they were before the Spartak game" but he is aware that the Scottish champions, second in Group G with four points from two games, face a double-header against leaders Barcelona.

"Realistically, a point from both would be magnificent," he said. "They are the bookies' favourites to win the trophy and rightly so, they have the best team and the best squad in the world. For us to get anything off them... it would be a dream come true. We will probably need some luck.

"I think it will come down to our home games and trying to nick points off Benfica," Commons added. "But you know how hard it is to get a result away from home in the Champions League and for us to produce that against Spartak after going 2-1 down is tremendous. It is a great feeling and the lads are buzzing."

Meanwhile Charlton's chairman, Michael Slater, has lodged a formal complaint about Spanish police after revealing that he was knocked unconscious before last month's Champions League game between Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Slater was caught up in an incident close to Madrid's Bernabeu stadium in which police wielding batons allegedly charged City supporters in an unprovoked attack before kick off. As well as being knocked out, Slater, a Manchester City fan, was left with minor head injuries and severe bruising. He has reported it to the head of security at the Football Association and wants the matter to go to Uefa.

Slater told Charlton's official website: "I can confirm that I was assaulted by at least one police officer in Spain without any provocation at all. I have been in contact with the FA, and I am expecting them to take the matter up formally with Uefa."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash