Matthews targets group stage

Adam Matthews insists Celtic will not be taking Cliftonville lightly, but admits their target is to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage.

Last Updated: 25/06/13 at 09:48 Post Comment

Adam Matthews: Hoping to embark on another European adventure

Adam Matthews: Hoping to embark on another European adventure

Neil Lennon's side enjoyed a memorable European adventure last season, with a famous victory over Barcelona helping them into the last 16.

Matching, or bettering, that achievement is now the challenge facing all of those at Parkhead - on the back of another SPL title success.

Matthews believes the Hoops should be gracing the latter stages of continental competition, but appreciates that they can take nothing for granted after being handed a tie against Northern Irish outfit Cliftonville in the second qualifying round.

He said in the Daily Record: "We've got to respect them and treat it like a Champions League game. We want to be in the group stage every season.

"That's our main goal so we'll play every game like we're up against Barcelona again or Juventus in the last 16.

"We want to get to the group stage again as we know we need to be playing at that level. We showed last season we can compete with the best teams.

"I know Cliftonville won their league comfortably. They're going to be a decent outfit and probably a good footballing team.

"We're focused on ourselves, we only had a short break so everyone has come back in good shape."

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e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

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arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

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e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

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