Celtic news – Hooper vow to fans, Lennon: Brown can cope, Old Firm unhappy

Hooper vow to fans.

In-form striker Gary Hooper, who has notched 13 goals this season, has vowed to make it up to the fans in Wednesday´s Scottish Cup replay against Rangers at Parkhead.

The Hoops’ run of 17 games without defeat was halted on Sunday with a shock 2-0 defeat at the hands of Motherwell and the 23-year-old told STV: “We need to win, get through and get a good result. I’d like to make it up to the fans. It was a bad performance against Motherwell, a bad day, and we have to make up for it and get a win against Rangers.

The defeat will drive us on. It is a good game for us to bounce back but we need to focus on what we can do, not worry about the opposition, and pass the ball like we know we can.”

Lennon: Brown can cope.

Ahead of tonight’s Scottish Cup fifth-round replay with Rangers, boss Neil Lennon is convinced skipper Scott Brown can handle the heat, despite being singled out by Gers´ Kyle Bartley.

The on-loan defender clashed with Brown on his Old Firm debut last week and stoked up the fire by saying: “Not many people at Rangers get on with Scott Brown and I am not his biggest fan, so we will see what happens in the next game.”

However, Lennon revealed he has no plans to have a word with his midfielder prior to the game. “He doesn’t need me to say anything to him,” Lennon told the Bearsden Herald. “Scotty can look after himself and he has proved that this season, so there will be no special talk. All the players know that discipline is very important in these games and I should think they will relish the challenge.”

Old Firm unhappy.

Both Celtic and Rangers are unhappy with the decision to start the 2011/12 season three weeks earlier than usual on July 23.

The two clubs traditionally cash in on their worldwide appeal by playing a series of lucrative pre-season friendlies, with Celtic due to be competing in a tournament in Dublin when the second round of league fixtures are scheduled to take place.

An early start means international players from both clubs, who will not complete their commitments until early July, have little time for a recovery period.

Despite it being proposed as a means of generating television revenue, at a time when there is a shortage of live football, the Old Firm are concerned about the impact on season ticket sales as the campaign kicks off when many fans are on holiday during the Glasgow Fair.

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