Date: 1st August 2011 at 11:30am
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Gary Hooper is desperate for a proper crack at European football.

A year ago the former Scunthorpe striker completed his transfer to Celtic at Glasgow Airport before making his debut in the 3-0 defeat away to Sporting Braga that killed off any thoughts of competing in the Champions League.

Hooper scored in the return leg in Glasgow but was out injured for both legs of the Europa League qualifier with Utrecht that saw Celtic crash out of the competition.

Saturday’s defeat from Inter Milan in the Dublin Super Cup gave the 23-year-old a taste of continental action with the striker looking forward to Friday’s Europa League draw

“When we went to play Braga in Portugal in the Champions League qualifier that was my first game for Celtic,” Hooper recalled.

“We lost that one and Europe was over before I knew it. Hopefully this year it’s completely different and we can do a lot better in the Europa League.

“I’ve been here a year and know all the boys really well now. We’ve come on leaps and bounds compared to the Braga game.

Hooper added: “It’s time to step it up and if we play like we did against Inter Milan and take our chances I think we’ll do well.

“I know it was a friendly, but to create so many chances against a quality team like that is encouraging.

“We had six or seven really good chances, but it just never happened for us.

“We’re keeping the ball better and creating chances, and we’re also defending well, but we’re learning every day. Everyone is enjoying it.”

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