Caldwell admits Celtic are paying price for caution on the road

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The Independent Football

Gary Caldwell admits Celtic need to show more ambition in attack if they are to achieve that elusive away victory in the Champions League. Celtic dropped to the bottom of Group D after losing 1-0 to Benfica in Lisbon on Wednesday night.

Oscar Cardozo's 86th-minute strike extended the Scottish champions' win-less run away from Celtic Park in the group stages to 14 games, an unwanted record which has its origins back in Martin O'Neill's time as manager.

The Celtic defender said that the Scottish champions need to do more than simply contain their opponents on their travels. He said: "The desire and commitment was there from everyone but we must do better when we are on the ball. You must have the belief that when you have got the ball you can keep it off them and give people a rest. We just ran out of legs in the end because we were defending for long periods.

"We set our stall out to defend in numbers and we did that very well. Artur Boruc made a couple of good saves and we had the feeling that we would take a point away with us but it's difficult to come back after losing a late goal."

Indeed, had it not been for Boruc's brilliance in goal, including one world class save from Cardozo before the Paraguayan international eventually got his goal, Celtic's defeat could have been heavier. Caldwell stressed the importance of the Poland international to the Parkhead side. He said: "It's amazing. On the big nights he always comes up with big saves."

The midfielder Paul Hartley looked forward to avenging the defeat when Benfica come to Celtic Park in the next round of matches on 6 November. Celtic need all three points to give themselves a realistic chance of qualifying for the group stages for the second season in succession. Hartley is confident the Celtic players can put Wednesday's disappointment behind them. He said: "We thought that we might get a point but it's just the way it goes. But the group is wide open. We have Benfica in two weeks' time and it's important that we get a win there. Our home record is very good so hopefully we can turn the tables then."

Group D

Results: Milan 2 Benfica 1; Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Celtic 0; Benfica 0 Shakhtar Donetsk 1; Celtic 2 Milan 1; Benfica 1 Celtic 0; Milan 4 Shakhtar Donetsk 1.

Remaining fixtures: 6 November: Celtic v Benfica; Shakhtar Donetsk v Milan. 28 November: Benfica v Milan; Celtic v Shakhtar Donetsk. 4 December: Milan v Celtic; Shakhtar Donetsk v Benfica.