Essex-born Gary Hooper has received a call-up to Stuart Pearce’s England Under-21 squad for the first time. The in-form Celtic striker was named in a 31-man squad for the warm-up games with Denmark and Iceland before this summer´s European Under-21 Championships in Denmark.
Despite being 23 years of age Hooper is eligible as he was under 21 at the start of the qualifying campaign, and was obviously delighted as he told Celtic´s official website: “It is a real honour to be called up for your country at any level and this is certainly a special moment. I am delighted Stuart Pearce has given me this opportunity and will do my best to impress when I join up with the squad. I also have to thank my teammates and the management at Celtic for helping me to achieve this kind of recognition.”
The draw for the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup has been made and Celtic will face the winners of Wednesday´s replay between Aberdeen and St Mirren at Pittodrie, providing they overcome Inverness Caledonian Thistle in their re-arranged fixture on the same night.
Aberdeen will fancy their chances of overcoming The Buddies on their own patch, setting up a potential repeat of the Co-Operative Insurance Cup semi-final against Celtic in January, which the Hoops won 4-1.
All eight quarter-finalists went into the hat after the three weekend matches ended in draws, and the other tie sees Brechin or St Johnstone take on Dundee United or Motherwell. The Brechin-St Johnstone replay is scheduled for next Tuesday with the Dundee Utd- Motherwell clash pencilled in for March 29.
The semi-finals will take place on the weekend of April 16/17.
Forster wants Celtic stay.
On-loan keeper Fraser Forster is hoping Celtic boss Neil Lennon will try and buy him in the summer.
The 6´7´´ stopper cannot bear the thought of returning to Newcastle United to sit on the bench and is hoping his record, 15 clean sheets in 30 games, will be enough to persuade Lennon he is the man for the No 1 jersey at Parkhead.
Speaking to the Scottish Sun he said: “Sitting on the bench is not for me and I just want to be out playing first-team football. I definitely do not want to be going out of things again after I played last season and what I have had this season. Celtic is a fantastic club, but we will just have to wait and see what happens. I am still Newcastle’s player so let us wait until summer and see what it brings.”