Tag Archives: hooper

Ladies Day at Cheltenham – watch Andy Hooper"s video

Ladies Day at Cheltenham! Watch Andy Hooper's video of the Festival fillies

By
Andy Hooper

PUBLISHED:

16:43 GMT, 13 March 2013

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UPDATED:

16:43 GMT, 13 March 2013

The second day of Cheltenham welcomed the ladies – and Sportsmail was there to capture the visitors to the Festival.

Before the action on the track unfolded, Andy Hooper filmed footage of the ladies dressed in their colourful outfits. Click on the video player before to watch his clip…

Hats off to them! Fine fillies descend on Cheltenham for Ladies…

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Graham Poll: Celtic were beaten by referee against Juventus

Celtic were beaten by Juve – but they were let down by the referee. Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and Mick McManus were all that was missing from this wrestling extravaganza

By
Graham Poll

PUBLISHED:

09:46 GMT, 13 February 2013

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UPDATED:

14:02 GMT, 13 February 2013

Celtic's Champions League dream lies in ruins after a 3-0 defeat by Juventus in the first leg of their last-16 tie but they were not helped by the referee.

Celtic should have had a penalty for the blatant holding at corners which, had they converted, could have put a completely different perspective on the game.

Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenca chose to discipline Hoops striker Gary Hooper and Juve defender Stephan Lichtsteiner when clashes occurred and did so before the corner was taken, meaning a penalty could not be awarded.

Corner chaos: Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon got to grips with Celtic striker Gary Hooper

Corner chaos: Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon got to grips with Celtic striker Gary Hooper

Too close: The tussle between Buffon, Hooper and Stephan Lichtsteiner was like a wrestling match

Too close: The tussle between Buffon, Hooper and Stephan Lichtsteiner was like a wrestling match

Now for the headlock: Hooper is held in the box by Lichsteiner

Now for the headlock: Hooper is held in the box by Lichsteiner

Hands off: Hooper and Lichsteiner carry on their struggles

Hands off: Hooper and Lichsteiner carry on their struggles

Up in arms: Scott Brown gets the treatment too, from Simone Padoin

Up in arms: Scott Brown gets the treatment too, from Simone Padoin

Pushing their luck: Brown has words with Andrea Pirlo after another round of shoving

Pushing their luck: Brown has words with Andrea Pirlo after another round of shoving

That is a good way of letting players know you have seen the holding and blocking and will not tolerate it.

However, when it continues unabated, despite those yellow cards, you have a duty to increase the punishment. Some of it reminded me of the old ITV wrestling days.

King of the ring: Wrestler Mick McManus tries to slam Tommy Cooper in the first show of ABC TV's new series Life with Cooper. Did Juventus watch this

King of the ring: Wrestler Mick McManus tries to slam Tommy Cooper in the first show of ABC TV's new series Life with Cooper. Did Juventus watch this

Two falls, one submission, or a knockout: Big Daddy in typical ITV wrestling pose

Two falls, one submission, or a knockout: Big Daddy in typical ITV wrestling pose

Choker: In tactics Juve might have liked, Giant Haystacks defeats South African champion Danny Voges

Choker: In tactics Juve might have liked, Giant Haystacks defeats South African champion Danny Voges

So either red cards should have been shown or preferably at least one penalty awarded for the blatant holding.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon had every right to feel hard done by.

Appeal: Hooper got nothing out of Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenca - apart from a booking

Appeal: Hooper got nothing out of Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenca – apart from a booking

Fuming: Celtic manager Neil Lennon (right) was raging with referee Mallenca as the Hoops went down to Juve

Fuming: Celtic manager Neil Lennon (right) was raging with referee Mallenca as the Hoops went down to Juve

Player of the Month Matthews hopes to carry form into Europe and topple Juventus

Player of the Month Matthews hopes to carry form into Europe and topple Juventus

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

17:24 GMT, 8 February 2013

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UPDATED:

17:24 GMT, 8 February 2013

SPL Player of the Month Adam Matthews is hoping he can take his magnificent league form with Celtic and help them win the Champions League last-16 tie against Juventus.

The Welsh defender has been in exceptional form this season for the Bhoys, and was awarded with the monthly gong for January.

The 21-year-old now hopes to kick on and is focusing on 'one of the biggest games of my career' when the Italian giants visit Parkhead on Tuesday for the first leg of the knockout rounds.

Forward thinking: Adam Matthews hopes Celtic can get past Juventus in the Champions League

Forward thinking: Adam Matthews hopes Celtic can get past Juventus in the Champions League

Celtic progressed through the group stages in spectacular fashion, even managing to beat tournament favourites Barcelona at home in a thrilling 2-1 win.

Matthews said: 'I think it's a good achievement. We have a few young good players in the SPL and it's the first time I've won the award but hopefully I can win it some more.'

'It is the first time I have won the award but hopefully I can win it a few more times.

Superstar: Andrea Pirlo is hoping to spoil the party at Parkhead

Superstar: Andrea Pirlo is hoping to spoil the party at Parkhead

Leading the line: Gary Hooper has been in lethal form for Celtic

Leading the line: Gary Hooper has been in lethal form for Celtic

'You play against the best teams in the world like Barcelona and you can only improve.

'Juventus will be one of the biggest games of my career.

'The Barcelona game was one of them but this, for the club and the fans, is even bigger.'

Juventus are favourites to progress past the SPL champions and currently sit top of Serie A, three points clear of chasers Napoli.

Billy Twelvetrees scores against Scotland – Image of the week by Andy Hooper

Andy Hooper: Image of the week – Terrific Twelvetrees touches down against Scotland

By
Andy Hooper

PUBLISHED:

12:45 GMT, 4 February 2013

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UPDATED:

16:14 GMT, 4 February 2013

All eyes on the ball! The Scottish defensive line watch in horror as Billy Twelvetrees breaks through to score.

I took this picture on Saturday during England's win over Scotland in their Six Nations opener.

Twelvetrees had a great game and he seemed to appear in every picture I took during the match.

Immediate impact: Billy Twelvetrees scored on his England debut against Scotland at Twickenham

Immediate impact: Billy Twelvetrees scored on his England debut against Scotland at Twickenham

This is a classic peak-of-the-action picture as it captures the split second before the ball is grounded.

These are the pictures you want to take and file to the Daily Mail.

For more images from the game see my video slide show below and if you want to get in touch, use the comments section at the bottom of the page or follow me on Twitter @Andy_Hooper_DM

Nikon D3
Lens 400mm
Camera Exposure 1/640th of a second at f2.8 ISO 2500

VIDEO Andy Hooper's sports images of the week. A complete view

Play Video

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Sportsmail"s Magnificent Seven, including Louis Smith and Tom Daley, come together for the final time

Thanks for being MAGNIFICENT! Sportsmail pays tribute to the seven athletes we have followed from 2005 to the 2012 Olympics

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 28 December 2012

Seven years ago, Sportsmail began following seven young athletes as they set out on their journeys to try to reach the 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games in London.

Three of the original seven made it to the Games but two called time on their sporting careers before the start of this year. Their replacements, however, were both part of Team GB and Paralympics GB last summer.

It has been an enlightening experience, punctuated by extremes of success and disappointment, watching the development of these athletes' careers since 2005.

Recently, Sportsmail's Magnificent Seven met up for the final time and shared memories of their experiences.

Then and now: From left, Gemma Howell, Tom Daley, Louise Watkin, Sportsmail's Andy Hooper, Emily Pidgeon, Shanaze Reade and Louis Smith met up for one final time recently

Then and now: From left, Gemma Howell, Tom Daley, Louise Watkin, Sportsmail's Andy Hooper, Emily Pidgeon, Shanaze Reade and Louis Smith met up for one final time recently

As they were: The original Magnificent Seven lined up at Lord's, from left, Tom Daley, Louis Smith, Jean-Rene Badrick, Emily Pidgeon, Giles Scott, Rachael Latham and Shanaze Reade

As they were: The original Magnificent Seven lined up at Lord's, from left, Tom Daley, Louis Smith, Jean-Rene Badrick, Emily Pidgeon, Giles Scott, Rachael Latham and Shanaze Reade

Tom Daley, Diving, 18, from Plymouth

The youngest of the Magnificent Seven has become a superstar. Daley was selected for the Beijing Games aged just 14 after becoming a British and European champion in the 10-metre platform.

He added the world title in 2009, two Commonwealth golds (in the individual event and synchronised 10m platform) in 2010 and then won an emotional Olympic bronze medal in London, despite intense pressure and expectation and the passing of his father, Rob, in May 2011.

'When I look at some of the photos from 2005 I'm so small! It's crazy how much I've changed since then and what I've achieved in that time.

'Life's changed, too. In fact, it's stacked up to a whole new level since London. Going out anywhere, there are so many people who stop you and say, “Congratulations”.

'It's nice to feel appreciated and respected but it does feel weird that seven years of training were geared towards London 2012 and now it's been and gone.

Superstar: Tom Daley won a bronze medal in the men's 10m platform at the London Games

Superstar: Tom Daley won a bronze medal in the men's 10m platform at the London Games

In the spotlight: Daley (right) presented the Young Sports Personality of the Year award to Josef Craig (centre)

In the spotlight: Daley (right) presented the Young Sports Personality of the Year award to Josef Craig (centre)

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN…

The Magnificent Seven series originated in 2005 through Sportsmail selecting seven talented athletes to follow through to London 2012.

The National Lottery joined as partner in 2006 to promote their funding into the seven chosen athletes, along with over 1,200 other competitors, on their journey to the London 2012 Games.

National Lottery funding, originating directly from the Lottery-playing public across the UK, enables elite athletes to benefit from the world-class coaching, facilities and medical support, giving them every possible chance to succeed during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As the nation's attention moves from the London 2012 Games to Rio 2016, The National Lottery will continue to invest in sports facilities, support staff and coaching, providing opportunities for future generations to succeed on an elite level.

No-one has contributed more to our athletes than National Lottery players, with more than 1,200 athletes having benefited from world-class coaching and support. www.national-lottery.co.uk/London2012

'I think 2012 changed the face of British sport but there was a bit of a crash after the Olympics when I thought, “I can't believe it's all over.” I'm slowly, gradually, building my way back up there.

'After the Games, I went on holiday with my family and then got two golds at the World Junior Championships: one in the 10-metre event and one in the 3m synchro with Jack Laugher. Then I went to Dubai with my friends and have been back at school catching up on my maths and Spanish A-levels. I want to get three A*s rather than three As.

'Rio in four years' time does seem a long way away, but there are also World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games in between, so there's plenty to look forward to.

'I think in total I might make maybe four or five Olympic Games – depending on how diving moves on – but we'll get to Rio first. It's outdoors, which the Chinese don't like, and I love diving outdoors.'

Louise Watkin, Paralympic Swimming, 20, from Redhill (replaced Rachael Latham)

Latham, who was born with Erbs Palsy, which limits the use of her left arm, made two swimming finals at the Paralympic Games in Beijing.

She retired in 2010 due to injury but went on to become a Channel 4 presenter and was a Sportsmail columnist during the London Paralympics. Watkin, who has upper limb deficiency, won two Paralympic silvers and two bronzes in London.

Dazzling: Louise Watkin won four medals in the London Paralympic Games

Dazzling: Louise Watkin won four medals in the London Paralympic Games

'The Paralympics were amazing. I didn't want them to end. You could hear the crowd when you were under water in the Aquatics Centre. I came away with two medals from the individual events and two in the relays. It went brilliantly.

'In the past four years, the Paralympics has moved on so much. People are still talking about it now. It's nice so many people have got the Paralympics bug. 'I hope there will be more integration in the future. Come and watch us at the World Championships next year. Then hopefully I'll get my gold in Rio!'

Giles Scott, Sailing, 25, from Huntingdon

Scott was a world youth champion in the Laser class when he joined us in 2005 and became world champion in the Finn in 2011. The one major disappointment was missing out on London 2012.

Scott competes in the same class as Ben Ainslie and GB could only send one sailor. With Ainslie now retired, Rio 2016 cannot come soon enough.

Disappointed: Giles Scott missed out on the London Games as he was in the same division as gold medal winner Ben Ainslie

Disappointed: Giles Scott missed out on the London Games as he was in the same division as gold medal winner Ben Ainslie

Who they are

'I wouldn't call it bad luck, being in the same division as Ben. If I had performed at the right regatta it would have led to me being selected to go to the Olympics.

'I was unsure whether to watch the Olympics and some of it was hard, but I got into it and was probably as addicted as everyone else by the end. Since then I have joined an America's Cup team (Team Korea) and moved away from the UK. I wanted to broaden my horizons so I don't mess up for Rio like I did this time around.'

Emily Pidgeon, Athletics, 23, from Cheltenham

Pidgeon was an outstanding junior 5,000 metres runner but has struggled with injuries and found it difficult on the senior circuit. She still hopes her best years are to come.

Her boyfriend, GB runner Andrew Osagie, was in the fastest 800m race in history, the Olympic final in London.

'It has been an amazing journey. It's scary how quickly it's gone. I always thought I'd be there in London, so it's been up and down.

'When I realised I wasn't going to be
able to compete, it wasn't that I didn't want anything to do with the
Olympics but I just knew I'd find it hard to go and watch.

A first: Emily Pidgeon ran around the Olympic Park stadium before anyone else

A first: Emily Pidgeon ran around the Olympic Park stadium before anyone else

'But because I got injured in May I had dealt with that by the time the Olympics came round.

'I was determined to enjoy the experience and I'm so glad I did. I was there to watch Andrew in his heat and his final. I think there's a reason I was injured and I hope Rio will be my time.'

Gemma Howell, Judo, 22, from Telford (replaced Jean-Rene Badrick)

Badrick, then 16, won bronze at the European Youth Olympics but retired in 2010 through injury. Howell replaced him, battled back from serious injury and was selected for London.

She was disqualified in her first-round fight against world champion Gevrise Emane.

'It was the worst and best week of my life. I was devastated. When I came off the mat I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible but then I thought, “I just have to use this going forward to Rio.”

Devastated: Gemma Howell was disqualified in her first round bout at the 2012 Olympics

Devastated: Gemma Howell was disqualified in her first round bout at the 2012 Olympics

'I was more nervous than I'd ever been. I have dreamed since I was little of being Olympic champion and I was a bit overwhelmed. Hopefully I can just get on with the job next time around.

'I've started a sport and exercise science degree at Bath University. My brain hurts after four years out of education. But while I want an Olympic medal more than anything, it's education and judo going forward.'

Louis Smith, Gymnastics, 23, Peterborough

In 2006, Smith won the Commonwealth pommel horse title aged 16 and has not looked back. He won Britain's first individual Olympic gymnastics medal for 100 years with a bronze in Beijing and went one better with silver in London.

He also won a bronze in the men's team event. Since the Games he has won the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing. 'No one would ever have thought we could have got that bronze in the team event. I didn't even think we could do it. It was a big statement to the rest of the world.

'It was really hard to come back again for my individual event. Winning the bronze was such a high and then you've got to come back down again for the event that was most important for me, and the one everyone expected me to do well in. It was tough but I'm glad I finished it the way I did.

Enjoying it Smith posed for Sportsmail on the back of a real 'pommel horse'

Enjoying it Smith posed for Sportsmail on the back of a real 'pommel horse'

Proud: Smith put in a sterling performance on the pommel horse to take silver home

Proud: Smith put in a sterling performance on the pommel horse to take silver home

A different route: Smith recently won the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing

A different route: Smith recently won the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing

'There are about seven different paths I could take now: fashion, property, sport. Do I carry on to Rio The Commonwealths When do I call it quits It's about making the right and the best decision, not necessarily the one everyone wants me to make.

'I want to start my own fashion range. It's something I've wanted to do for a while, although I won't be keeping any clothes I've worn on Strictly. They love their glitz and glam and shiny stuff!

'Magnificent Seven has been remarkable in so many different ways. It's been fantastic and we've done some funky stuff along the way.

'I never want to go on a horse again after that photoshoot when I pretended it was a pommel horse! I was scared stiff. I did it, although I probably wouldn't do it now!'

Shanaze Reade, BMX Cycling, 24, from Crewe

Reade went to Beijing as a world champion but crashed out in the final after deciding she would not settle for silver. Reade regained her BMX world title in 2010 and has also won two world championship golds on the track, but that Olympic medal still eludes her. Reade finished sixth in the BMX final in London.

'It was quite hard, mentally, after the Games. Everyone in British cycling did so well and I was tipped to get a medal but, again, I didn't fulfil my potential. I can definitely see what went wrong. It's about staying injury-free moving forward and just getting on that good mental pathway of getting some success under my belt and getting my confidence back.

'I have “Team Reade”, a group of people who I trust and I know will push me, to help me do that, but first and foremost it comes down to me.

Crushed: Shanaze Reade finished sixth in the final of the Olympics BMX Cycling

Crushed: Shanaze Reade finished sixth in the final of the Olympics BMX Cycling

Crushed: Shanaze Reade finished sixth in the final of the Olympics BMX Cycling

'I'm at a crossroads now where I feel I want to be world champion again in BMX, hopefully in New Zealand next year, and win a BMX Olympic medal. But then I've been world champion on the track and I also want to get further in that because I've only ever done six- to eight-week blocks of training. I would like to do the Commonwealth Games, and BMX isn't in it, so we'll see.

'I went to Beijing on such a high. I hadn't lost a race for six or seven years so I thought, “Why should it be any different”

'Coming into London was the opposite. I had been injured, missed races, crashed out of finals. I had never really fulfilled what I was capable of doing on the day. Now I don't want to short-change myself any longer.'

Dundee 0 Celtic 2: Samaras stunner sends Bhoys seven points clear at top

Dundee 0 Celtic 2: Samaras stunner sends Bhoys seven points clear at top

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UPDATED:

23:25 GMT, 26 December 2012

Temporarily freed from the heavy
demands of European football, Celtic are now beginning to fly. Not quite
yet a speck on the horizon as far as the rest of the SPL are concerned
but, to all intents and purposes, already safely out of reach.

For long enough, those titanic
tussles with Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow proved so taxing that
they left Neil Lennon’s men breathless and leggy for domestic duties.
Not now. Not since Spartak were dispatched earlier this month.

Spectacular: Georgios Samaras (left) puts Celtic ahead

Spectacular: Georgios Samaras (left) puts Celtic ahead

Match facts

Dundee: Douglas, Irvine,Lockwood, Benedictus, Gallagher, McAlister, O'Donnell (Boyle 83), McBride, Conroy, John Baird (Stewart 74), Nish. Subs Not Used: Alex Baird, McGregor, Easton, Reid.

Booked: Benedictus.

Celtic: Forster, Ambrose, Wilson, Mulgrew (Lustig 46), Izaguirre, Wanyama, Brown, Kayal (Forrest 60), Hooper, Samaras, Watt (McCourt 79). Subs Not Used: Zaluska, Miku, Nouioui, Rogne.

Booked: Hooper.

Goals: Samaras 16, Hooper 71.

Att: 9,276

Ref: Iain Brines (Scotland).

This was Celtic’s fourth straight win in the SPL since the Russians were put to the sword — with Hearts having been beatean prior to that European clash — and few would bet against the half dozen being racked up by the time the winter break arrives in a week’s time.

They made short work of their first trip to Dens on league business in eight years, goals from Georgios Samaras and Gary Hooper sending them seven points ahead of second-placed Inverness with a game in hand.

What is now a sizeable gap may quickly become a chasm. The expected script for the season is now being adhered to, albeit after a slight deviation from the plot.

The only possible blip for Celtic last night was an apparent elbow from Kelvin Wilson on Dundee’s diminutive striker John Baird as they chased the ball in the first half.

Referee Iain Brines missed the incident and, while the SFA may look at retrospective action, the height difference between the players may save the Parkhead defender from punishment.

Dundee have occasionally threatened to thumb their noses at what many believe to be the inevitable this season, but they are still down among the dead men in 12th place. What an effort it is going to require if they are to dig themselves out of this hole.

All pile on: Celtic celebrate Samaras strike

All pile on: Celtic celebrate Samaras strike

Losing to the Scottish champions was
not, in itself, a hammer blow last night but the points gained earlier
in the day by St Mirren and Ross Country were. Now nine adrift, Barry
Smith’s men will soon be looking for snookers.

The days of chopping and changing appear to be at an end for Celtic.
With the exception of Tony Watt’s introduction at the expense of Lassad,
Lennon stood by the men who dismantled Ross County last Saturday.

The only hint of experimentation was the 4-3-1-2 formation — with Hooper the link man between Watt and Samaras.

For Dens boss Smith, there are no such distractions in his battle to
survive in the elite division. Occasionally, some semi-desperate
measures are required and, with Nicky Riley absent through injury, he
was forced to throw in Stephen O’Donnell for his first start since
August.

O’Donnell was in the thick of it from the off, however. When Emilio
Izaguirre made a hash of a clearance, he seized possession on the edge
of the box and ignored the close attention of Charlie Mulgrew to drive
narrowly over.

Izaguirre redeemed himself further up the field with a peach of a cross
to tee up Watt. His volley forced veteran goalkeeper Robert Douglas to
paw the ball the ball away for a corner. With that, Celtic sparked into
life.

From Mulgrew’s corner, Efe Ambrose thundered a volley off the underside
of the bar. Victor Wanyama failed to control the rebound and fired
wildly over.

Hooper’s low strike then flashed a foot wide of the upright, but it
seemed that the first goal was becoming a matter of when, rather than
if.

Super: Gary Hooper lobs the ball over Rab Douglas to put Celtic 2-0 in front

Super: Gary Hooper lobs the ball over Rab Douglas to put Celtic 2-0 in front

Mulgrew’s consistency in delivering from set-pieces is one of the main
weapons in Celtic’s arsenal and last night his ability to land the ball
on a sixpence was a source of torment for the Dens men.

On 16 minutes, he arched his left foot around the ball and picked out
Watt with another heat-seeking missile. Douglas beat away the teenager’s
volley but with insufficient strength to clear the danger. With his
back to goal, Samaras caught the ball cleanly and found the back of the
net with a textbook bicycle kick despite the best efforts of Jim
McAlister on the line.

Were it not for Douglas, Celtic would have had the issue as good as
settled inside 22 minutes. Taking a pass from Samaras, Beram Kayal
bounded towards goal but slipped the Greek back in when he hit the edge
of the box. Samaras’s curling shot looked bound for the far post all the
way until the keeper extended an arm to flick the ball round the post.

Dundee just could not get out in the first half. Each time they looked
up, they were suffocated by a swarm of white shirts. Smith had bravely
opted to play two up front in Colin Nish and Baird to try to stretch the
game, but his pairing were starved of service and his midfield
over-run.

And Nish seemed taken by surprise when Dundee’s best chance of the
evening was put on a plate for him five minutes into the second half.
Ryan Conroy’s cross from the left was top drawer, as was Fraser
Forster’s reaction, but the lumbering striker ought to have given the
Celtic keeper no chance with his header from five yards.

With Nish playing deeper, Dundee improved. Kevin McBride worried Forster
with a low drive then Baird’s shot flew narrowly over after catching
Izaguirre’s shoulder.

Mikael Lustig had replaced Mulgrew at the break and, when James Forrest
stepped on to the turf to replace Kayal after an hour, Celtic’s
freshness down the right was eye-catching.

Their second goal stemmed from there, the ever-improving Lustig picking
out Hooper with a sweet ball over the top. The Englishman saw Douglas
half-a-yard off his line and embarrassed the former Celtic keeper with
an inch-perfect lob.

Coming just seconds after the former Scunthorpe man traded bookings with
Kyle Benedictus for squaring up, it was a sweet moment for the striker.

Dundee’s hopes of staging a comeback died when Forster backtracked to tip Nish’s header over the top with time running out.

The Dark Blues stuck with it and will take something from remaining in
the contest for so long. They know days like these won’t define the rest
of their season, but they can ill-afford to be cut further adrift.

For Celtic, the winter break suddenly looks like it’s coming at the wrong time.

Best sports pictures of the year – by Sportsmail photographers

Snappy Christmas! Our photographers choose their favourite pictures of the year

PUBLISHED:

18:01 GMT, 25 December 2012

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UPDATED:

18:01 GMT, 25 December 2012

Sportsmail's group of top photographers, Andy Hooper, Kevin Quigley, Ian Hodgson and Graham Chadwick, have thought long and hard about their favourite photos of the year. Enjoy their selections below.

Andy Hooper

Oscar and Anthony: Yes, this really happened. Oscar Pistorius is kneeling down in front of a cheetah in the South African bush near Pretoria. Bladerunner Oscar was as good as gold, maybe a little nervous, but he was happy to crouch for a few seconds, which is all it took to get the shot.

Oscar and Anthony

Mo-mentous: Mo Farah wins his second Olympic gold medal in the 5,000 metres, fighting off attack after attack from the Kenyans and the other Africans. One of my special moments, as Mo kicked on and made the victory look easy!

Mo-mentous

Pure gold: Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking after winning the lightweight double sculls, one of my favourite London 2012 images. It looks close up but they had drifted way past us before celebrating.

Pure gold

Kevin Quigley

Lone rider: All of these were taken using a range of Nikon cameras and lenses and with Mark Cavendish, I shot this in Fairlop in east London, with the backdrop a London sunset. I used one outside studio light positioned to the left of me which lit him up as he came up this slight incline and it’s the favourite shot I’ve taken this year.

Lone Rider

Blue is the colour: Chelsea’s Didier Drogba was running round the Munich pitch with the European Cup when he suddenly sat down in the goalmouth. With a wide-angle lens I captured Didier, the trophy and all of the drama around him.

Blues is the colour

Pure Poults: I stood to the side of the other photographers who were shooting straight on with flash, and as Ian Poulter celebrated with the Ryder Cup at Medinah my camera picked up someone else’s flash to put a nice light on him.

Pure Poults

Graham Chadwick

Zlat’s magic (left): The shirt’s off as Zlatan Ibrahimovic goes wild after his acrobatic fourth goal for Sweden against England in their Stockholm friendly. Just for the perfect execution of his skills, it was unquestionably the best goal that I have seen live. I will remember it for ever.

Joyous: Jade Jones winning gold in the 57kg taekwondo final was simply spine-tingling, especially the second when she jumped up to celebrate with her coach. This image rewarded my long hours spent covering the Games.

Zlat's magic

Joyous

Spinning gold: For American Gabrielle Douglas’s winning beam routine I wanted to create a dramatic stage for her dismount in this image. I used a starburst filter on the lens to accentuate the arena spotlights. I was also lucky to catch a lone flash from someone else’s camera in the crowd.

Spinning gold

Ian Hodgson

City turns blue: On the day Manchester City won the title I moved to the right hand side of the press pen to get a better angle. Streamers were fired into the air but I stayed focused on the trophy to create an almost abstract-style photograph.

City turns blue

One to treasure: I was covering the Open at Lytham and on one of the practice days, Justin Rose had been signing autographs on the tee. A few children had not got his signature but as he reached the green he waved them over. Nice gesture and a lovely picture.

One to treasure

Knight of Old Trafford: I’d photographed Sir Bobby Charlton on many occasions, but to have the time to shoot a portrait with the Manchester United legend one-to-one was something special for me. After setting up my lights (three on this shoot), I shot a variety of pictures, with this one as my favourite.

Knight of Old Trafford

Celtic 4 Ross County 0: Gary Hooper scores double as Bhoys cruise to win

Celtic 4 Ross County 0: Hooper at the double as Bhoys coast to festive win

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UPDATED:

18:11 GMT, 22 December 2012

A Gary Hooper brace after the break helped Celtic romp to victory over Ross County in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at Parkhead.

The home side dominated the first half with Staggies goalkeeper Mark Brown forced into several saves, although former Celtic man Rocco Quinn and Alex Cooper both missed great opportunities for the visitors.

However, when Celtic skipper Scott Brown struck a minute after the interval the Highlanders' resistance was broken, and Hooper helped himself to two classic poacher's goals before substitute James Forrest capped his return to action after being out since October with a hamstring injury by grabbing the fourth.

Heading for victory: Gary Hooper scores Celtic's third goal

Heading for victory: Gary Hooper scores Celtic's third goal

MATCH FACTS

Celtic: Forster, Izaguirre, Ambrose, Wilson, Mulgrew, Brown, Kayal (Forrest 58), Wanyama, Samaras (Herron 83), Nouioui (Watt 75), Hooper.
Subs not used: Zaluska, Rogne, McCourt, McGeouch.
Bookings: Wilson

Ross County: Brown, Fitzpatrick, Munro, Boyd, Kovacevic, Kettlewell (Glen 88), Brittain, Vigurs, Quinn (Lawson 77), Cooper (Corcoran 54), McMenamin.
Subs not used: Fraser, Tokely, Macphee, Ross.
Bookings: Munro, Kettlewell, Brittain.

Att: 49,428.
Ref: Euan Norris

The Scottish champions were drawn against Italian giants Juventus in the last 16 of the Champions League on Thursday, but the exciting prospect of those games to be played in February and March did not spill over into this pre-Christmas fixture, especially in the first 45 minutes when a half-filled Celtic Park was subdued.

However, manager Neil Lennon will have been happier with his side's ruthlessness in the second period as the moved five points ahead of Inverness at the top of the table. And there was the bonus of seeing Forrest back in action.

Lennon was forced into two changes to his starting eleven. Left-back Emilio Izaguirre and striker Lassad Nouioui came in for Adam Matthews and Mikael Lustig, who had succumbed to ankle and hip complaints respectively.

The visitors also showed two changes with Mihael Kovacevic and Quinn in for Ross Tokely and Mark Fotheringham, with the former starting on the bench.

County took a point from the champions early in the season in Dingwall, but travelled south without a win in their last eight games and it looked ominous when the Hoops took only three minutes to create their first opening.

Izaguirre raced down the left and his cross found Lassad at the back post, but his header was held by Caley's former Celtic keeper Brown, who made a decent save from Charlie Mulgrew's shot on the turn from a Georgios Samaras free-kick moments later.

All smiles: Hooper celebrates his first goal at Celtic Park

All smiles: Hooper celebrates his first goal at Celtic Park

Brown looked to be in for a long
afternoon and in the 11th minute he made a good save from Hooper's
close-range header, after another Izaguirre cross from the left found
the Englishman unmarked in the box.

The
visitors lacked conviction when they did venture up the park, although
five minutes later former Parkhead midfielder Quinn blazed a drive from
25 yards just over the bar, after being played in by Iain Vigurs.

Celtic's early urgency subsided a little, but they still had County tightly in their grip. On the half-hour mark Brown was again called into action to save a decent effort from Lassad before another Parkhead attack was thwarted when Hooper's drive came off the face of Marc Fitzpatrick for a corner, which came to nothing.

As Celtic continued to press, midfielder Beram Kayal had a low drive from the edge of the box saved by Brown before the Highlanders broke with some purpose seconds later with Cooper setting up Quinn, but his hastily-taken shot was too tame to unduly bother Hoops keeper Fraser Forster.

Christmas cheer: James Forrest celebrates scoring Celtic's fourth goal

Christmas cheer: James Forrest celebrates scoring Celtic's fourth goal

Seconds from the break, with the Hoops defence static, Quinn set up Cooper, but England call-up Forster came to Celtic's rescue with a fine blocking save for a corner which prevented the visitors taking an unlikely lead into the interval.

Any chance of a County upset, however, dissipated just over a minute into the second-half when Hooper set up Brown to drive low past his namesake in the County goal from 14 yards. With the pressure off, Celtic relaxed and when Hooper flicked Lassad's cross past Brown with his head in the 53rd minute the points were effectively secured.

Forrest was given a rousing cheer when he replaced Kayal, but it was Hooper who had the fans off their seats again in the 64th minute when he was in the right place to head past Brown after Victor Wanyama's header from a Mulgrew corner was blocked up into the air.

It became a matter of how many Celtic would score and six minutes later Forrest sped into the County box after after taking a pass from Hooper and shot past the helpless Brown.

Lennon was afforded the luxury of giving 18-year-old attacking midfielder John Herron his debut as replacement for Samaras, before Hooper hit the bar from close-range when it looked odds-on he would secure his hat-trick.

Bobby Zamora could return from injury a month ahead of schedule

Zamora boost for QPR, but striker will face struggle as Redknapp targets new signings

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UPDATED:

19:45 GMT, 19 December 2012

Queens Park Rangers striker Bobby Zamora is hopeful of a return from injury ahead of schedule and believes he is only 'four to five weeks' away.

The striker suffered a hip injury back in November and had surgery that was expected to keep him out until at least February.

Speaking to the club's official website, www.qpr.co.uk, Zamora said: 'I'd like to think I'll be back available in the next four or five weeks.

Recovery: Bobby Zamora could return from injury 'four or five' weeks earlier than was expected

Recovery: Bobby Zamora could return from injury 'four or five' weeks earlier than was expected

'I had an operation three weeks ago and an now working on getting fit. My fingers are crossed for a smooth recovery.'

The 31-year-old has not featured for QPR since a 1-0 defeat at Stoke City on 10th November.

The hip injury was expected to keep him out until the end of February but he is progressing well and could be back as early as next month.

Window: New QPR boss Harry Redknapp is looking to strengthen in the January transfer window

Window: New QPR boss Harry Redknapp is looking to strengthen in the January transfer window

However, with new boss Harry Redknapp rumoured to be interested in several players in the January window, Zamora may find it hard to regain his place in the team.

Former Chelsea stars Nicolas Anelka and Joe Cole are reported targets, as is Celtic hitman Gary Hooper who already has 13 goals this season.

QPR target Joe Cole

QPR target Gary Hooper

Targets: Harry Redknapp is rumoured to be preparing bids for Liverpool's Joe Cole (left) and Celtic's Gary Hooper as well as ex-Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka

Celtic 2 Spartak Moscow 1: match report

Celtic 2 Spartak Moscow 1: Commons touch sees Hoops through… but nervous Lennon can't watch winning penalty

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UPDATED:

09:19 GMT, 6 December 2012

It just gets better and better at Celtic Park.

On the final whistle strains of London Calling were booming across a delirious stadium, manager Neil Lennon was on the pitch punching the air and his players were cavorting in front of fans going mad with green happiness.

Celtic, fourth seeds in Group G and written off by so many when the draw was made, are into the last 16. The achievement is enormous and the rewards in terms of finance and recognition are deserved.

Main man: Kris Commons (left) celebrates scoring Celtic's winner

Main man: Kris Commons (left) celebrates scoring Celtic's winner

You can look now: Neil Lennon (left) and coach Garry Parker couldn't watch Commons' penalty

You can look now: Neil Lennon (left) and coach Garry Parker couldn't watch Commons' penalty

Match facts

Celtic: Forster, Lustig (Matthews 71), Wilson, Ambrose, Izaguirre, Mulgrew, Brown (Ledley 84), Kayal (Nouioui 73), Commons, Samaras,
Hooper.

Subs Not Used: Zaluska, Miku, Rogne, Watt.

Booked: Kayal, Lustig.

Goals: Hooper 21, Commons 82 pen.

Spartak Moscow: Pesiakov, Kirill, Kombarov, Insaurralde, Suchy, Dmitri Kombarov, Rafael Carioca, Kallstrom, Jurado, Dzjuba,
Ari (McGeady 61), Emenike.

Subs Not Used: Dykan, Bryzgalov, Pareja, Yakovlev, De Zeeuw, Kozlov.

Sent Off: Kallstrom (88).

Booked: Kallstrom,Dmitri Kombarov,McGeady.

Goals: Ari 39.

Att: 60,000

Ref: Felix Brych (Germany)

The latest Champions League tables, results and fixtures

They had luck, but they
also had bottle. Needing to beat what Benfica did in Barcelona, Celtic
were only matching the draw in Catalonia with eight minutes left. Then
Georgios Samaras went down in the Spartak Moscow box having been barged
by Marek Suchy. A penalty was claimed, but you have seen these not
given.

Referee Felix Brych saw enough in Suchy’s challenge, however, to consider it a foul.

Celtic Park erupted with glee, but that soon subsided when Kris Commons lined up the penalty. Lennon had spoken on Tuesday of the night being Celtic’s ‘moment’ and here it was. Twelve yards and a potential winner and the manager couldn't watch.

Commons has a sweet left foot; he went for power and the ball cannoned in off the bar and behind the Spartak keeper Sergei Pesyakov. For a split second it seemed the ball might ricochet out. But Commons had shown bottle.

There were still eight minutes to go and five added on for good measure. Over in Barcelona, meanwhile, there were six minutes added on. It was an occasion when the mind was in two places.

There was time for Spartak’s midfielder Kim Kallstrom to be sent off but Celtic’s defence held firm and, when in possession, Samaras in particular showed his nous. Celtic saw the game out and the news from Catalonia was perfect. This was their moment.

In front: Gary Hooper opened the scoring for Celtic in the first half

In front: Gary Hooper opened the scoring for Celtic in the first half

‘The players performed a miracle,’ Lennon said. ‘No-one gave us a prayer. It means the world to me to qualify with 10 points.’

Lennon was unable to watch Commons’ strike. It was a night of excruciating tension inside the stadium and Lennon called it ‘absolutely horrible’.

He added: ‘You’re trying to stay calm but inside your stomach is churning. I didn’t watch the penalty, I turned my back. I just wanted to hear if the roar went up. Kris showed great mental strength and that epitomised his night. He was fantastic.’

On their way: Hooper celebrates putting Celtic in front against Spartak Moscow

On their way: Hooper celebrates putting Celtic in front against Spartak Moscow

Of the draw on the 20th, Lennon said:
‘We’re in there, we’re going to enjoy it and who knows where it can
take us The players have grown as the campaign has gone on and some of
them have got recognition. But as a collective there is great belief.

‘It’s very exciting times and the players have justified the beating of Barcelona by qualifying. I didn’t want them to be known just as the team who beat Barcelona.’

They won’t be, not now. To get 10 points in a group with Barcelona, Benfica — who were quarter-finalists last season — and Spartak Moscow, who demonstrated here that they are far from mugs, shows a degree of ability, organisation and determination that goes way beyond good fortune. Lennon, in his first job, is a prospect.

Level: Spartak Moscow's Ari looked to have spoiled the party after scoring an equaliser

Level: Spartak Moscow's Ari looked to have spoiled the party after scoring an equaliser

Pure delight: Spartak Moscow's Ari celebrates his goal which threatened to ruin Celtic's night

Pure delight: Spartak Moscow's Ari celebrates his goal which threatened to ruin Celtic's night

Main man: Celtic's Kris Commons (right) scores his side's winning goal from the penalty spot

Main man: Celtic's Kris Commons (right) scores his side's winning goal from the penalty spot

Main man: Celtic's Kris Commons (right) scores his side's winning goal from the penalty spot

He felt his side had not played well in the first half, and he had a point.

It was a night when the East End of Glasgow had a heightened awareness of events in Catalonia. The first news was not awful, but nor was it great. It was known Barcelona were resting players but the expectation was that Lionel Messi would not be one of them. But Messi was on the bench.

Yet Celtic could do only their job, not two.

Off: Spartak Moscow's Kim Kallstrom (centre) receives a red card for a challenge on Kris Commons

Off: Spartak Moscow's Kim Kallstrom (centre) receives a red card for a challenge on Kris Commons

There was the customary explosion of noise as the Champions League anthem was played, but by eight o’clock there was edginess. There was a report of a Benfica missed sitter in the Nou Camp just before Kallstrom shaved a post here. With nothing to lose, Spartak were playing with freedom.

But then Argentine centre-half Juan Insaurralde produced a clanger and by five past eight Celtic were 1-0 up.

When the lively Samaras fired a 40-yard pass at Gary Hooper, Insaurralde was found instead. A straightforward interception was anticipated but Insaurralde fluffed it. The ball ran to Hooper who, from 20 yards, spanked a shot past Pesyakov.

Party time: Neil Lennon celebrates Celtic's win over Spartak Moscow

Party time: Neil Lennon celebrates Celtic's win over Spartak Moscow

Considering the occasion, Hooper’s finish was impressively cool. Celtic were in the last 16 at that moment but six minutes before half-time they were out again. Emmanuel Emenike was giving the Celtic back four problems and now he bundled past another couple of challenges and slid a pass to the Brazilian called simply Ari. Unmarked, Ari chipped Fraser Forster and though Kelvin Wilson tried to keep the ball out, the net rippled. And Parkhead shivered.

There was an outbreak of celebration at the start of the second half when some thought Barca had scored. Messi was now on but it was still 0-0 there and Benfica sounded on top. The score was relayed to Lennon to make his nerves suffer just that bit more.

But Celtic persevered, Samaras went down, Commons stepped up and Celtic pushed on through. London Calling might be a bit much — the final is at Wembley — but then Celtic’s campaign has been a dream.