Juventus manager Antonio Conte has revealed his admiration for Celtic forward Gary Hooper on the eve of the Champions last 16 tie at Parkhead.

Hooper has scored four Champions League goals this season and has been linked with a move away from the SPL of late having turned down the offer of a contract extension beyond its expiry in 2014.

Norwich City had a series of bids rejected for Hooper in the January transfer window, and Conte is among his admirers, claiming the English forward would shine in Serie A.

Gary Hooper
Hooper has scored four Champions League goals this season.

"Hooper up front is a player who, with the greatest of respect to Scotland, could excel in our championship in Italy," said Conte.

"He is a very fast player, who attacks the spaces very well and is a good finisher."

After beating Barcelona, and Spartak Moscow twice, Celtic were among the surprise qualifiers for the knock-out phase, subsequently drawing Italian champions Juventus, to evoke memories of the pair's thrilling encounters during the 2001/2002 campaign.

Conte is wary of the threat Neil Lennon's team possesses.

"Celtic has good players throughout the team and the heart and soul seems to be Scott Brown," Conte noted.http://static.lingospot.com/spot/image/spacer.gif" Alongside him is Victor Wanyama who, as well as being technically good, has an impressive physique.

"Georgios Samaras attacks the spaces very well and is another who has an imposing physique as well as being technical.

"I like Kelvin Wilson and keeper Fraser Forster, who is a very young player with a very good future.

"Celtic are not unknown to us and we have certainly not underestimated them. I said before they have not just played well in the SPL as not many teams could beat Barcelona at home and just narrowly lose away."

The Hoops' players will look towards the Celtic Park crowd to play their part on Tuesday, with another memorable atmosphere expected on the biggest of European nights.

But World Cup winner Gianluigi Buffon says he won't be intimidated regardless of the atmosphere come kick-off.

"The atmosphere is very British in many ways but, as far as I can remember, no fan has ever scored a goal," he said.

"Certainly the crowd can help Celtic but only to a certain point," added Buffon.

"The opponents can't get carried away with this and must focus on their own game.

"The most hostile atmospheres I have ever played in, I would probably have to say is Turkey, at Fenerbahce and Galatasaray."

"Of course, here, at both Celtic and Rangers, they have stadiums that when full have an excellent atmosphere, we already know this and we respect this very much."