Gary Hooper: Don't stop us now

GARY HOOPER today refused to rule out Celtic progressing beyond the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time ever.

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Hooper celebrates scoring the opening goal
Hooper celebrates scoring the opening goal

The Englishman's opportunistic first-half strike against Spartak Moscow at Parkhead last night helped send his team into the knockout stages.

It is only the third time that the Glasgow giants have progressed beyond the groups of Europe's premier club competition.

But hitman Hooper reckons Celtic can make it through to the quarter-finals – or even further – even though they could face giants such as Bayern Munich, Juventus or Manchester United.

He said: "You never know what will happen. At home we can beat anyone.

"We showed that against Barcelona and then again last night. We have to take it game by game and see what happens.

"Never write us off. We are good at home, but I thought we played really well away from home against Spartak, too.

"It means a lot. It is a dream come true. We had to win and we did that.

"We defended better in the second half and Kris hit a great penalty to clinch it."

Meanwhile, Celtic captain Scott Brown has revealed he will be fit for the last 16 ties early next year despite his ongoing problems with a hip injury.

He said: "I came off last night due to a lack of games. I got cramp, I actually feel miles better. I have been getting a few treatments here and there.

"I am in good shape and will be fine for the last 16.

"We got a fantastic result last night. The lads worked so hard. In the last five minutes I didn't think the game was ever going to end.

"But credit where credit is due. We worked really hard, created chances and scored goals. We knew we were good at home. The fans were just phenomenal and kept us going for the entire 90 minutes.

"When the penalty hit the bar I thought it was going to bounce out, but I had faith in Kris. Hopefully he isn't out for too long after being injured."

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