Strachan praises players

Aiden McGeady goal lifts Celtic up to third in Group D

By Steve Pass.   Last Updated: 06/11/07 11:22pm

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McGeady: Scored winner

McGeady: Scored winner

Sky Bet

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan praised his team after they claimed a crucial 1-0 victory over Benfica at Celtic Park.

An Aiden McGeady shot was deflected in by Benfica's captain Luisao just before half-time to give the Bhoys three points.

The Hoops are now up to third place in Group D with six points from their opening four games and still have a great chance of qualifying from the group.

Speaking after the match, Strachan said: "It was a great game of football - I think the Champions League games have been great because the players that are in it can take the game from one end of the park to the other. It was like watching basketball at one point there.

"They were good possession-wise in the first half, made a couple of chances, but we plugged away, made some good ones as well.

Tempo

"The second half I think we just upped the tempo, upped the bravery on the ball, upped the bravery when they had the ball, and I thought we were deserved winners at the end."

Strachan believed his players kept within themselves in the first half but gave everything in the second.

"In the second half, when they gave their all, they are a good side," said Strachan, who added they were "just going to be happy with what we have done".

He said: "We had pressure on us to win this game tonight and we have done it. So please don't anyone question my players' mental and physical ability."

Disgusting

Benfica's Gilles Binya deservedly received a straight red card for a disgusting stamp on Scott Brown's lower right leg in the 85th minute, which led to the Celtic midfielder being substituted.

But the Celtic player confirmed he felt alright after the match, although he described the challenge as "shocking".

"I don't think the guy should ever have done that. Obviously he's tried to do me as hard as possible - he tried but I'll live to fight another day," said Brown.

Asked if he thought Binya tried to break his leg, Brown added: "Yes I think he did but I'll live to fight another day.

"I'll come back next week fighting. Hopefully Uefa will deal with it properly. The referee dealt with it very well - sent him right off, right away," he said, adding he will train on Wednesday.

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