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Strachan thrilled by 'fantastic' Celtic

Gordon Strachan said Celtic FC had "blown Benfica away" with an "excellent" second-half performance that puts his side in with a good chance of advancing.

Celtic FC manager Gordon Strachan was thrilled by his side's "excellent" second-half display as Aiden McGeady's 45th-minute goal proved enough to defeat SL Benfica 1-0 and put the Scottish side in with a good chance of advancing from Group D. Benfica coach José Antonio Camacho was left to regret missed chances as his side slumped to the bottom of the section.

Gordon Strachan, Celtic manager
Physically and mentally we weren't at our best in the first half. In the second period, we were excellent. We had to convince the boys that what happened in the first half was unacceptable in terms of our performance. Perhaps we were second best in terms of our passing. The players had to trust their ability and I think, eventually, it was fantastic. In the second half, they stepped up and at times they blew Benfica away. We've played some terrific stuff this year and hopefully it can continue. Aiden was magnificent. His technical ability is fantastic, he's enjoying his football and when he doesn't have the ball he's working much harder than ever before. These days, I always see him in the gym working hard. He's using and enhancing the God-given talent he has. It's great for him and it's fantastic for us. We're in with a chance of going through, the performances so far have been satisfying and hopefully that will continue.

José Antonio Camacho, Benfica coach
We played well when we had the ball, but we didn't win, this happens. If we play like we did tonight, we can beat Milan. Obviously, that's a difficult task because they are a very good team. After 60 to 70 minutes we slowed down a little. The midfield dipped and we brought in two fresh forwards to speed it up a little. There are no problems with the team. Sometimes it goes for us, sometimes it doesn't. Celtic scored their goal from a deflection; that happens. We had some clear-cut chances and didn't get the breaks. At the moment we are second in the [Portuguese] league and we must focus on the domestic situation. The important thing for us is to make sure we're in next year's Champions League to play against the best of the best again.