FORMER Celtic striker Gary Hooper is poised for a comeback after being released by Sheffield Wednesday at the end of last season.

The 31-year-old English frontman has been on the look-out for a new club since June and was linked with a sensational return to the Hoops, but reports were wide of the mark.

Neil Lennon had brought Hooper to Parkhead in July 2010 in a bargain £2.4million deal from Scunthorpe and the stocky hitman became a hero with the Hoops fans as he slammed in 63 goals in 95 league appearances and 82 overall from 138 outings.

He was also tipped for England international recognition at the same time goalkeeper Fraser Forster stepped up to make his debut against Chile in 2013.

Norwich City paid £5.5million to land the prolific attacker six years ago and he also moved onto the Hillsborough outfit for £3million in January 2016.

He was let go by the Championship side in the summer and, according to Iranian news outlet iSport, he has “reached a final agreement” to sign for local side Esteghlal.

The team finished third in the Persian Gulf Pro League last season and recently appointed former Inter Milan boss Andrea Stramaccioni as their new manager.

DEREK McINNES has decided not to appeal the red cards dished out to Curtis Main or Lewis Ferguson during Aberdeen’s 1-1 draw with Hibs at Pittodrie at the weekend.

The Dons manager and assistant Tony Docherty were raging at referee Don Robertson and Easter Road midfielder Stevie Mallan for his part in the orderings-off.

Main was dismissed for a lunge and then Ferguson was late in a challenge.

McInnes has reviewed the footage and, although he still feels his players were harshly treated, he acknowledged it would be difficult to get either decision overturned on appeal.

The pair will now be suspended for the next match away to Motherwell after the international break.

CHRIS MAXWELL, Hibs’ on-loan keeper from Preston, is being monitored by Scotland international coaching staff.

The shotstopper has dislodged Ofir Marciano as the club’s No.1 and has been in impressive form in the recent outings against Hearts, Kilmarnock, Celtic and Aberdeen.

Maxwell has represented Wales at youth level and played the majority of his career in England, but qualifies for Scotland due to his father and other family members’ links to the Bathgate and Falkirk areas.

Steven Reid, Steve Clarke’s assistant gaffer, said in a report in the Edinburgh Evening News: “I think we have to look at Chris Maxwell at Hibs.

“I don’t think it’s an issue if players weren’t born in Scotland. If they are fit, playing well and show willingness to play for Scotland, then that’s great.”

JAMIE WALKER is aiming to return from a broken leg to play for Hearts against Rangers at Tynecastle a week on Sunday.

The 26-year-old winger, who rejoined the Edinburgh outfit from Wigan in the summer, has been out since sustaining the fracture in a League Cup win at Motherwell on August 16, but has now resumed training.

Steven Naismith and Peter Haring are also expected to be in contention following the international break.

Striker Uche Ikpeazu was ruled out of Saturday’s home defeat against Kilmarnock with a tight hamstring, but should be back in time for the visit of Steven Gerrard’s side.


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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