McManus: Watch us grow

Celtic skipper looking to the future

McManus: Bright future

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Celtic captain Stephen McManus believes the only way is up for Gordon Strachan's young side ahead of their UEFA Champions League clash with Benfica, which is live on Sky Sports 2.

Celtic require three points against Benfica, who beat the Bhoys 1-0 in their last Champions League outing a fortnight ago, at Parkhead to boost their hopes of progressing to the last 16 and McManus believes this is possible.

The current Celtic side has an average age of 26 and only a few of the first-team regulars have enjoyed more than two years in the side.

And McManus also feels that Celtic can go on to great things, despite recently crashing out of the Scottish League Cup to Hearts.

Killer

"Our last Benfica game was a killer because we lost such a late goal," McManus told the Daily Record. "We don't go into matches thinking about this or that record.

"We just want to win them and that's what we will try to do in this one.

"We certainly believe we can beat Benfica. We have seen enough of them to suggest that, while they are a good side, they are beatable.

"None of us are at the peak of our careers. You have to remember that and it's a good time to be here.

Experience

"It used to be at Celtic we had players on £50,000 a week who the club paid £6million for. I can assure you there is nobody like that any more.

"So you are going to get days when it's hard. That is why results are so important.

"A few years ago Celtic had top-class guys at the peak of their careers. That is a big thing.

"We're a good side at the moment and if we can stay together and grow then in a few years when we are 28 or 29 this will be a very good team with a lot of experience."