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Gary Hooper plea for Celtic return is no joke to pal who is adamant Brendan Rodgers should consider it

Playful Gary Hooper joked about a Celtic comeback before an old Parkhead pal insisted an unlikely return to Glasgow's east end should be considered a live option.

The 36-year-old is without a club since leaving Dubai's Gulf United earlier this year and Kelvin Wilson offered a serious response to the possibility of Hooper securing a final chance in green and white. It comes fresh off the striker's free-scoring exploits in the Scottish Masters and the big defender insists Hooper could still be a force under Brendan Rodgers.

Wilson – who was left rolling about the Braehead carpet with Record Sport pundit Ryan Stevenson – told the Scottish Sun: “I know you look at Celtic, and the players they can bring in, but I wouldn’t be surprised with Gary. Hoops could be a back-up player there and still score many goals for Celtic.

“I don’t understand why anyone would question it. That’s my opinion. Gary knows the club inside out and the fans absolutely love him. It’s a no-brainer for me. He wouldn’t cost them anything, so yes! For sure he’d take that opportunity, he’d snatch your hand off for it.”

The former Celtic striker remains a hero among the Parkhead faithful with a stunning record of 82 goals in 138 games before he exited the club for Norwich City in 2013. And Hooper admitted: “I played for one of the biggest clubs in the world, biggest fan-base. I loved my three years up here and, hopefully, if Brendan’s watching I could retire at Celtic…on the bench.”