Celtic swoop for Hooper

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The Independent Football

Gary Hooper completed his "dream" move to Celtic this morning and then declared himself ready to snatch a Champions League debut goal.

The striker finalised his transfer from Scunthorpe just in time to catch Celtic's charter flight to Porto ahead of the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against Sporting Braga.

Hooper, who scored 50 goals in two seasons with Scunthorpe, had undergone a medical on Monday but had to sign some papers early this morning and arrived at Glasgow Airport after his new team-mates and manager Neil Lennon.

Lennon confirmed Hooper would be in his squad and the 22-year-old is eager to get on the pitch and banish his nerves by making the step from Glanford Park to Europe's elite competition.

Hooper, who was left out of Scunthorpe's pre-season games to safeguard his reported £2.4million transfer, said: "I'm a little bit nervous, it's the first time I've travelled abroad for a game.

"But I am looking forward to it and ready to meet my team-mates.

"I'm ready to come on. I haven't really played a game. I've been training really hard, double sessions, but I'm ready to come on and score goal.

"It's a massive step-up, I didn't think I would be playing in the Champions League tomorrow night. I just hope I can play."

Hooper had also interested Middlesbrough, among other clubs, but Lennon did not need to persuade him to sign for Celtic.

"No, it's Celtic, so I was coming here anyway," said Hooper, who began his career with Grays Athletic and then Southend.

"It's a massive club and when they were interested, it was the only club I was coming to.

"It's my dream. It's one of the biggest clubs, to play in the Champions League and SPL, and we've got the Emirates Cup next week, so it's a massive step."