With 12 minutes to go at Dens Park on Saturday, Dunfermline looked dead and buried.
The Fifers were trailing 3-0 until the 78th minute thanks to goals from Dark Blues skipper Charlie Adam, Osman Sow and Liam Fontaine.
However, A Paul Watson header got them back into the contest before McManus emphatically tucked away a penalty four minutes later.
With virtually the last kick of the game, McManus stepped up and curled a free-kick beyond a helpless Jack Hamilton in the 93rd minute to earn Dunfermline a vital point that keeps them in second spot in the Championship.
They sit just three behind league leaders and title favourites Hearts and hitman McManus sees no reason why they can’t push the Jambos all the way this term.
“We’re just focused on ourselves but we believe we are and we’ll be going into every single game, regardless of who it is, to win,” the 26-year-old said.
“We’ve played a lot of tough games already, obviously Hearts and going to Dens is going to be one of the toughest you’ll face, and we’ve not been beaten.
“Everybody else can focus on who’s contenders but we’ve got a belief inside our dressing-room we can do something special this season.”
Former Falkirk and Raith Rovers striker McManus, who has seven goals to his name so far this campaign, believes their fightback shows the belief and character in the Pars’ squad.
He added: “It’s turned out massive for us. A couple of the boys have checked results and other games went our way as well, you could say.
“It’s a massive point for us in that way but the reaction, especially going 3-0 down, was huge.
“We always believe in ourselves and, thankfully, Paul attacks the ball well and gets us back in the game.
“I can only speak for myself but the team believes in each other and we’ve always got a chance, regardless.
“It’s massive and we had a small blip last week (losing to Morton) – we just weren’t at our best on the day and on Saturday for 70 minutes we were nowhere near our best.
“Thankfully, somehow, the character has dug us into the game and managed to get us a point.”
McManus’ second, the equalising goal, was a magnificently-curled set-piece you’d be tempted to call a wonder goal.
However, he insists it’s just something he practices every day in training – even if it doesn’t always go to plan.
“I always do practice, aye,” he said.
“I’ve got an unorthodox technique where it could go in the top bin or on the top of the stand so, thankfully, on the day it went in the top corner!
“Obviously, a free-kick is a hard one to score for anybody but just the fact we were 3-0 down and it was a very, very tough pitch makes it better.
“The character of the whole squad to come and dig something out of this game, which for 70 minutes didn’t look as if we were ever going to, was massive.”
Credit to boss Crawford for making crucial changes
McManus also heaped praise on boss Stevie Crawford for ringing the changes in the second period to get his side back into the contest.
He commented: “It made a massive difference, particularly for me personally with the likes of Kevin (O’Hara) and big Lewis (McCann) coming on – it took the focus of the defenders off me a wee bit.
“It brought me into the game and helped me massively. I was then able to run them and pull them into positions they didn’t want to be in.
“Whereas, when you’re up there yourself, you’re trying to just hold it in and get the team up the park.
“I’ve been pretty decent at that throughout the season but I’m honest in my own game and I wasn’t at it in the first 70 minutes.
“Credit has to go to the manager as well to make the substitutions because they made a big difference.”