Strachan looks to the future
Gordon Strachan admits he wants Celtic to learn from this season's Champions League adventure.
By Stephen Bramley
Last Updated: 06/11/07 5:46am
Gordon Strachan admits he wants Celtic to learn from this season's UEFA Champions League adventure.
The Bhoys must beat Benfica in Tuesday's Group D clash at Parkhead to maintain their interest in this season's competition.
But despite the importance of the match, the Celtic boss believes the experience of the occasion is crucial to his team's long-term development.
Strachan said: "You never know what is going to get you through but this is all part of the building, to get this squad as much experience as they can.
"It may not help them this season, it might help them next season, the season after and hopefully the season after that when this group can all stay together and learn.
"We want to win, that's the priority, there is no doubt about that, but if we can take things from the game, then great."
Celtic suffered an agonising last-gasp 1-0 defeat in Portugal last week to maintain their dismal away form and must now win the return match and beat Shakhtar Donetsk in front of their own fans to keep their hopes of qualification alive.
But Celtic skipper Stephen McManus is confident his side - who beat Benfica 3-0 at home last season - will prove a different proposition at Celtic Park.
"Away from home we set out our stall a wee bit different but I think a lot of teams do in Europe nowadays," he said.
"We will certainly have a right go and hopefully get the three points.
"We know Benfica are going to be a very good side, they seem to be in this competition every single year and that proves how good a side they are.
"They have very good players all over the pitch but I think at home it is important that we stamp our authority on the game and really go out and show Benfica that we can be as attacked-minded as anybody at home.
"The most important thing is the team, if we have a good team performance on the night I would like to think that will be good enough to get the victory."