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Hooper hits all five as Celtic end season in style
Published : 13 May 2012 16:16:54Rss feed
Champions Celtic ended their Scottish Premier League campaign on a high as Gary Hooper scored all the goals in a 5-0 win over a make-shift Hearts side.
With one eye on next week's Scottish Cup final against Edinburgh rivals Hibernian, the Jambos rested seven first team regulars.
The under-strength Hearts side struggled to cope with the Hoops from the start and Hooper opened the scoring in the fifth minute when keeper Jamie MacDonald spilled Kris Commons' shot at his feet allowing him an easy tap in.
The English striker had his second just three minutes later with another simple finish before completing his hat-trick in the 39th minute from the penalty spot after Joe Ledley had been tripped by Arvydas Novikovas.
Hooper got number four in the 66th minute when a mistake by Marius Zaliukas sent him clear in the box before he stretched to knock in his 29th of the season in the 87th minute to complete the rout for the Hoops, who were presented with the SPL trophy at the end of the match.
It means Celtic finish the season 20 points ahead of rivals Rangers, who won 4-0 away to St Johnstone thanks to a Sone Aluko hat-trick and a Lee McCulloch strike just hours after a consortium fronted by former Sheffield United chief executive Charles Green agreed a deal to buy the Ibrox club.
In the day's other game, third-placed Motherwell were beaten 2-0 at home by Dundee United, in fourth, with Johnny Russell and Jon Daly scoring for the visitors.
At Celtic Park, the Hoops wasted little time in getting the party started when Hooper gave them the lead. Keeper MacDonald failed to deal with the initial shot from Commons and spilled the ball into the path of Hooper who had the simplest of tasks from four yards out.
The celebrations were in full swing when Hooper added a second just three minutes later. After collecting a pass from Joe Ledley, Greek striker Georgios Samaras galloped past Hearts captain Zaliukas before squaring the ball for Hooper who got in front of Danny Grainger to knock the ball into the empty net.
Charlie Mulgrew came close to adding a third minutes later when MacDonald had to scramble down low to his right to turn his curling free-kick from 25 yards round the post.
Hooper had his hat-trick in the 39th minute when he drilled a penalty straight down the middle and past MacDonald after Ledley had been tripped in the box by Novikovas.
Celtic continued to dominate in the second-half with Samaras inches away from converting a Commons free-kick before the Scotland international put an attempted chip over the bar.
In a rare chance for Hearts David Templeton got himself some space for a shot but he sent his effort well wide of the post on the hour mark.
Hooper pounced on a Hearts mistake to add a fourth in the 66th minute, when Zaliukas failed to cut out a pass from Commons and knocked it into the path of the English striker, who rounded MacDonald and rolled it into the net.
The former Scunthorpe striker made it 5-0 in the 87th minute when he stretched out a leg to turn Samaras' cross from the right past MacDonald.
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