Commons lauds Celtic team-mate Hooper

03 October 2012 03:47

Kris Commons believes Celtic team-mate Gary Hooper has limitless potential after the striker marked his first Champions League start with a goal in a famous 3-2 victory over Spartak Moscow.

Hooper's first-time finish set Celtic on their way to victory in the Champions League on Tuesday night, their first away victory in the group stages of the competition. Georgios Samaras made his first start since recovering from an elbow injury sustained on international duty with Greece last month and scored a late winner.

However, Lennon, while glad to see his seemingly endless faith in Samaras had been vindicated again, described Hooper's performance as "world class" after his striker had opened the scoring with his seventh goal in four games.

Hooper, who has scored seven times in four games, set up the second goal 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.

The former Scunthorpe striker's pace also drew a red card for Juan Insaurralde with Spartak 2-1 ahead.

And Commons did not disagree with Lennon's rather bold assessment. "When he (Gary) puts his mind to it, he can be anything," said the former Nottingham Forest and Derby player.

"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."

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

"We have Barcelona away and home and 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 try to think about getting anything off would be a dream come true."

Source: PA