Matthews wants more Euro heroics

24 June 2013 07:46

Celtic defender Adam Matthews has targeted a repeat of last season's efforts in the Champions League and sees no reason why the last 16 cannot be a realistic aim again this time around.

The Hoops progressed to the knockout stages thanks to some impressive results in the group stage, including a famous win over Barcelona, before eventually exiting the tournament at the hands of Juventus.

This season's campaign will begin against Cliftonville after Celtic were paired with the Northern Irish champions in Monday's draw in Nyon and Matthews is confident about the Scottish champions' hopes of another decent run in the competition.

He said: "The run last year was brilliant and nobody expected it, apart from the gaffer and our team. We did really well and we want to taste that again so hopefully if we do qualify for the groups we can go on a similar run.

"It was tough last year with the two qualifying rounds but we did well and came through it. We've got one more round this year so it's going to be a tough start to the season but the players have come back in good shape and I think we will do really well. Hopefully we can do the same as last year and qualify for the groups."

On the threat posed by Cliftonville, he added: "We know it's going to be a tough game, especially at their place. We've got to treat them with respect and treat it like any other Champions League game.

"We are happy with the draw but we know it's going to be tough. We know they won their league by a fair margin so we know they're going to be a good team and they are going to want to beat us.

"It's going to be a tough game but we are fully confident we can win the game."

Matthews hopes Celtic's chances of making an impact on the continental stage will be boosted by new recruits Virgil van Dijk and Amido Balde.

He said: "They've only trained today but they both look really good. They're tall, strong players and good on the ball. Hopefully they can make us stronger and help us qualify."

Source: PA

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