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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
Jan 23, 2013

Mulgrew desperate for Hooper Celtic stay

Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew wants team-mate Gary Hooper to stay at the club but believes Norwich need to place a more realistic bid if they want to secure the signature of the striker.

Norwich are keen to bring in a new striker
Norwich are keen to bring in a new striker

Hooper, 24, has been in lethal form for the Scottish champions this season, with his brace in the 4-0 defeat of Dundee United on Tuesday taking his tally for the season to 22.

The former Scunthorpe man - who rejected a new contract from Celtic earlier this season - has caught the eye of Norwich. However, they have seen a £5 million bid rejected, before Bhoys manager Neil Lennon confirmed that the club had turned down another, barely improved, offer from the Canaries.

Asked if the Norwich bid was derisory, Mulgrew, said: “Of course. We see him day in, day out and we know his quality, what he can do, and you see the goals he scores. So, yes, I think he is worth a lot more than that.

“He is a big player for us and we want to keep everyone. There is a good squad here. We all get on well and there is a good team spirit so we don't want to lose anybody.

“Maybe Gary is thriving on it (speculation) but he has been a good player for us all season before the speculation began. He is a great player and he's showing that just now. He is a good lad. He doesn't let it get to his head. He gets on with his job and you've seen that last night and on Saturday.''

Celtic's win over United took them 12 points clear of Inverness at the top of the Scottish Premier League and also kept up the momentum building ahead of next month's Champions League last-16 clash with Juventus.

However, Mulgrew is refusing to get carried away and is taking it one game at a time as he next turns his attention to the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final against St Mirren at Hampden on Sunday.

“I think it is about consistency and the last two performances have been good,” he said. “We kept a clean sheet against Dundee United and scored goals so that is positive.

“We look towards Sunday now. We are not looking as far as Juventus yet. We need to put that to the back of our head and concentrate on doing the job against St Mirren first, get the domestic stuff right and deal with Juventus when it comes.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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