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Celtic boss Lennon expecting Liverpool, Southampton target Hooper to stay put

Gary Hooper will not be departing Celtic anytime soon according to manager Neil Lennon.

The 24-year old striker has been a prolific goalscorer for the Hoops since his move from Scunthorpe United in 2010 and has subsequently attracted interest from the likes of Liverpool and Southampton.

But Lennon has questioned why Hooper would want to leave Celtic Park after guiding the Glasgow club to last seasons Scottish Premier League title and into the Champions League Round of 16 this term.

"If it's a Champions League club that comes in he can't play in the Champions League anyway, so that would work in our favour," he said.

"But regardless of the speculation I will rebuff the offers, unless it is an astronomical one that suits everybody.

"We've given Gary a great platform. He's grown - he's still only 24 and people forget that - to the point where he is more or less on the verge of being in the England squad.

"He's a goalscorer and I think they're priceless.

"Not only that, I also think he is a pretty intelligent player. He's got a great first touch and he can bring other people into the game.

"But to leave here, with all the things going on, and go to what could be a lower end Premier League team I think would be a backward step.

"But I am pretty sure we are not far away with Gary (regarding a new deal). I think we can get an agreement pretty soon. I speak to Gary maybe once a week on it and he is pretty comfortable about it."

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