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Juve got to be mad if you leave now

IF I was Gary Hooper, I would stay at Celtic until the end of the season.

The Celtic striker is going to move to the Barclays Premier League eventually, but why would he want to go now when he has the Champions League last-16 tie against Juventus to look forward to?

Depending on which club he goes to, he might never play in the Champions League again, and missing those two matches is something he might regret for the rest of his life. It is a great achievement for him and Celtic to be in the last 16 and who knows, they might even make the quarter-finals. It would be madness to throw the chance away.

As long as he stays injury free, his big move will happen for him in the summer. I don't think it is a hard one for the player, but keeping or selling Hooper could become a difficult decision for Celtic if a big offer lands on the table before Thursday's transfer window deadline.

If Norwich City came back in with, say £8-10 million, that would look like a great piece of business considering Hooper was bought for £2.4m. But my advice would be to knock it back for now because the same sort of money will still be on offer in the summer.

I wouldn't rule out Celtic trying to persuade Gary to stay with an improved deal, with a get-out clause of maybe £8m, but I am not sure that would make financial sense. I reckon they will try to use the argument that they made him into a star and will let him go with a year left on his contract.

I wouldn't take Grant Holt as part of a deal with Norwich either, as he is not a Hooper-type of player. Burnley's Charlie Austin has also been mentioned, but I still don't see why this can't wait till the summer.

As for Victor Wanyama, plenty of mid-table English top-flight clubs would love to take him, but now Manchester United and Arsenal are interested. Sir Alex Ferguson popped into Parkhead this week and he is the master of picking up the right player at the right time without having to pay over the odds, but he is not a great one for adding to his squad in January.

If Celtic were to lose Hooper and Wanyama this week, I would say with some confidence that they will go out of the Champions League. Those two players could be the difference between Celtic staying in or being knocked out by the Italians and Peter Lawwell and Neil Lennon will know that too. I don't think it is too much to ask them to stay for a few more months.

THIS is a huge week for Rangers. They travel to Dundee United in the William Hill Scottish Cup on Saturday with almost all of their fans boycotting the match. The SPL commission on the use of EBTs at Ibrox kicks off on Tuesday, and there are a couple of meetings about league reconstruction which could also have a massive effect on them.

The Rangers-United thing has spiralled out of control in the last few seasons, but only one team will be harmed by the boycott and that is Rangers. United will have a big support who will create a great atmosphere because it is a grudge match now. I am not saying Rangers will lose, but they will be at a big disadvantage before a ball is kicked. Full credit to the fans who do plan to turn up, who back their team through thick and thin and say, 'I am going to watch my team full stop'.

The match itself is hard to call, but on balance I think United will win because they have too much strength and depth, and too many class players, for the current Rangers side. Rangers were a mixed bag against Premier League teams in the Scottish Communities League Cup, beating Motherwell 2-0 then losing 3-0 to Inverness, but I fancy United to go through, and Rangers fans not being there in their usual numbers will be a big help to them.

Rangers have a grievance against the SPL, but we don't want all this bickering and vendettas against clubs dragging on. I have spoken about my own EBT many times in this column, but after a court of law ruled they were administered legally – although HMRC are considering an appeal – it would be a bit rich if the SPL came back and said titles should be taken away because of them. Rangers fans would never forgive that and this could be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

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