Hooper's rapid return adds to Celtic good news

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The Independent Football

Celtic striker Gary Hooper is on course for a sooner-than-expected return to training following his ankle injury.

The 22-year-old, who moved to Parkhead from Scunthorpe in the summer, sprained his ankle ligaments against Kilmarnock a fortnight ago.

Initial fears he had suffered a fracture were dispelled by a scan and he began jogging again this week and could be back in full training in two weeks' time.

Hooper said: "It was really sore when it happened. I knew I'd done something and had to go for the scan, but I've been lucky really. I was initially told it would take six weeks but it happened two weeks ago yesterday and I'm jogging already, so hopefully it will be shorter than that.

"I have to take it easy and hope my ankle doesn't react so the jogging hasn't been too intense. It's just been light and slightly quicker than a walk."

Georgios Samaras scored twice in last Sunday's 2-0 win over Rangers which saw Celtic take a four-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League and could delay Hooper's return to the team. "Every striker is a threat to my place in the team, not just Georgios for getting two goals against Rangers," added Hooper.

"I'm just concentrating on my own game, though. I just want to get back playing and that's the main thing. My only target is to not get injured again. I want to stay out of the physio room and keep scoring goals for Celtic."