NEIL LENNON hailed Gary Hooper as “the best-ever striker” – after his former Celtic star gunned down Bolton.
The frontman snatched a stoppage-time winner for Norwich after being thrown on as a second-half substitute with the game deadlocked at 1-1.
Lennon, who paid £2.4million to Scunthorpe to take the frontman to Parkhead in July 2010, was raging at his defenders at the end.
He said: “It’s unacceptable that with two minutes to go we leave a £5million striker in front of goal.
“It’s just not good enough. There was nothing in the game, but the difference was that they could bring on Hooper.
“He’s a brilliant player, the best striker I’ve worked with.
“But our defending was criminal. A lack of moral fibre. Baffling. I shall have to make changes.”
Hooper, who quit the Hoops in a £5million deal for Carrow Road in the summer of 2013, struck in the third minute of added-on time and was praised by boss Alex Neil.
The former Hamilton manager said: “We did everything we could to force it.
“We put on an extra striker and if you can get Gary in good positions he’s got goals in him.
“The players are drained. But they’ve got the chance to get into the Premier League, so there’s no problem getting them up for the next one.
“We need to win every remaining game, so I’m going to throw caution to the wind and go for it.”
Norwich are sitting second in the Championship, a point adrift of pacesetters Bournemouth.
Scotland international midfielder Graham Dorrans gave them the lead with a deflected free-kick in the ninth minute before Adam Le Fondre levelled shortly afterwards.
It looked like ending in stalemate until Cameron Jerome’s flick put in Hooper, who lifted the ball over the helpless Adam Bogdan for the last-gasp points-clincher.