THE New Saints face an uphill task if they are to progress in the Champions League having lost 3-1 to Anderlecht at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground.

A poor start dampened spirits as the Welsh Premier League side conceded twice in the opening 18 minutes of the game, Matias Suarez crossing for Sacha Kljestan to fire home at the far post and Jonathan Legear angling a drive in to the corner.

The Saints' first real chance arrived on 30 minutes when ex-Wales and Wrexham defender Steve Evans sent a scissor kick looping over the bar from former Chester man Scott Ruscoe's quickly-taken free-kick.

And Craig Jones almost pulled a goal back with a header that whistled wide of the far post from Chris Sharp’s cross.

The Saints did hit back soon after half-time when Jones converted a Ruscoe cross.
TNS were hit by a sucker punch when Matias Suarez headed inside Paul Harrison's far post on 73 minutes.

Meanwhile, Gary Hooper completed his "dream" move to Celtic this morning and then declared himself ready to snatch a Champions League debut goal.

The striker finalised his transfer from Scunthorpe in time to catch Celtic`s flight to Porto ahead of the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against Sporting

Hooper, who was left out of Scunthorpe`s pre-season games to safeguard his reported £2.4million transfer, said: "I'm a little bit nervous, it's the first time I've travelled abroad for a game.

"But I am looking forward to it and ready to meet my team-mates. I`m ready to come on. I haven`t really played a game. I`ve been training really hard, double sessions,
but I`m ready to come on and score goal."