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Scott McDonald is confident of continuing a scoring streak that has yielded nine goals in five Scottish Premier League games when Celtic FC welcome SL Benfica for what he believes is a must-win UEFA Champions League fixture.
The 24-year-old has been a revelation since joining from Motherwell FC last summer and took his seasonal tally to 13 with a double in Saturday's 2-1 victory at Kilmarnock FC. It was another performance to add to a growing scrapbook that includes two domestic hat-tricks and the winner in Celtic's 2-1 triumph over AC Milan on Matchday 2. He hopes to have another entry after the Group D match with Benfica, having been rested for the 1-0 defeat in Lisbon a fortnight ago. "At the moment the goals are coming all the time," McDonald told uefa.com. "I look forward to every game and I'm confident I'm going to score every time. I'm flying; that's the only way I can really put it."
Such has been McDonald's impact that Celtic supporters are mentioning the Australian international in the same breath as the iconic Henrik Larsson – the two goals he scored for Motherwell to deprive Celtic of the 2004/05 title appear long forgotten. "To be mentioned in the same sentence as that man is something special," McDonald said. "I just work as hard as I can, and if I can achieve half of what he's done at this football club, I'll be doing pretty well."
It could all have been very different had Motherwell accepted a €600,000 bid for McDonald from Rangers FC last January. At the time he was frustrated to have missed out, but as a lifelong Celtic fan he admits it all worked out perfectly in the end. "Any footballer wants to better himself and it was going to be my chance to play at a higher level with a massive club," said McDonald. "But I've been a Celtic supporter all my life and was brainwashed by my family, so it's worked out a hundred times better for me."
'Full of confidence'
Turning to the visit of Benfica, McDonald concedes that Celtic's UEFA Champions League campaign could end if they fail to take three points. Nonetheless, he is nothing but optimistic. "It's a massive, massive game, but we're more than up for it," he said. "I went into that Milan game having scored a hat-trick [against Dundee United FC] and was full of confidence. I feel the same now."
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