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Celtic sign off in style with five-star show from Hooper

If this should prove to be Gary Hooper's farewell to Celtic -- he has been linked strongly with a move to England in the summer -- the prolific striker went out in a blaze that was as spectacular as the firework display which accompanied him and his fellow title winners as they took their lap of honour after the final whistle.

The five goals he bagged during a rampant performance took his league total to 24, his season tally to 29 and his scoring record for Celtic to a neatly rounded 50.

He did it in economic style, too, with three of the five requiring little more than a nudge of his boot to find the net.

Of course, this was Celtic's day -- the consummation of the campaign that has seen them annexe the title four years after they last won it under Gordon Strachan -- and the crowd was raucous from the start as spectators savoured the latest rash of jokes about Rangers' plight -- like the one which says the last two owners of the Ibrox club will be Green and Whyte.

Their heroes were up for it, too, none more so than Hooper, who started the match as the SPL's top scorer and finished it out of sight of any other contender for the crown.

Two managers watched with satisfaction from the stands. One was Neil Lennon, who had the pleasure of seeing Celtic take their points total to 93 -- equalling Rangers' achievement under Walter Smith last season.

The other was Pat Fenlon, who departed afterwards for Dublin, where his Hibs squad will prepare for Saturday's Scottish Cup final against Edinburgh rivals Hearts with just a touch more optimism than most observers have suggested is justified. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent