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Hooper just super for Hoops
Published : 28 Aug 2011 18:30:54
An early Gary Hooper double gave Celtic a much-needed 2-0 victory over St Mirren in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at St Mirren Park.
The former Scunthorpe striker linked up with Anthony Stokes with six minutes gone to fire past Craig Samson from close-range and then capitalised on a mistake by former Hoops midfielder Paul McGowan to grab a second six minutes later.
The Buddies responded impressively but there were chances missed at both ends as Celtic did enough to secure their first win in four games.
Celtic showed no sign of nerves as they raced into a two-goal lead after 12 minutes.
Stokes had the ball in the net but referee Willie Collum adjudged him to have fouled Saints defender Marc McAusland beforehand.
But that just delayed Celtic's opener. There were six minute gone when Stokes and Hooper worked a one-two at the edge of the box to allow the former Scunthorpe striker the chance to drill his ball past Samson.
Indecision in the St Mirren defence then saw McGowan's pass intercepted by Hooper and he ran through and slipped the ball home.
Two minutes after the break it took a fine save by Samson from Stokes' drive from the edge of the box to keep St Mirren in the game. The former Hibernian striker had been allowed a free run to his shooting position which again highlighted the home side's defensive frailties.
Nigel Hasselbaink, though, was proving to be a menace in attack and after he was fouled by Celtic defender Kelvin Wilson 25 yards out, Fraser Forster was forced down to his left-hand post to make a good save from Jeroen Tesselaar's free-kick.
As the match swung from end to end, Forster made a decent save from Steven Thompson's close-range header to conclude another Paisley attack before Samson blocked Ki Sung-yueng's low drive at the other end after the St Mirren defence had been cut open again.