Celtic FC goal hero Kenny Miller believes the Glasgow club are in pole position to clinch second spot in Group F and progress to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League for the first time.
Miller, who became the first Scottish player to score for Celtic in the competition with his penalty against FC København on Matchday 2, took his tally to three last night with a second-half double against SL Benfica. Substitute Stephen Pearson added a third to ensure a repeat of the 3-0 victory Celtic enjoyed 37 years ago. "The goal came at a good time for us," Miller told uefa.com. "Obviously, the first goal in these games are really important and it settled the nerves and maybe put Benfica on a bit of a downer. That’s the way it worked for us and obviously we got another couple after that to make it a really good night for us.
Change of fortune
It has been a dramatic turnaround in fortune for the 26-year-old Miller who had failed to find the net in his first eight competitive games since joining from Wolverhampton Wanderers FC during the summer. The Scotland striker believes the rediscovery of his scoring touch is down to hard work and the support of his team-mates.
"It wasn’t happening for me in the first few games but you just keep plugging away and once you get the first one the confidence starts to come back," he said. "From a personal point of view, I am delighted to have scored two goals, but it was a really good team performance. We worked hard defensively and going forward we were clinical. The Champions League was a major factor in my decision to join Celtic. It’s a great club to be involved with, especially on nights like this and I’m delighted with the way things are going for me at the moment."
The victory leaves Celtic five points clear of Benfica in second place and favourites to clinch second spot in the group behind Manchester United FC, although Miller is not taking anything for granted just yet. "We are not there yet but we’re in a strong position," said Miller. "It was important to win this game at home and we have given ourselves a great opportunity. We’ve still got tough games left, against Benfica, Manchester United and Copenhagen, but we set out to qualify for the knockout stages and we’re still on course to achieve that."
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