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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 24 April, 2014

Lennon: Celtic ‘need a miracle’ as ruthless Juve leave Champions League dream in tatters

“I’d like to ask the referee, is the game different in Italy?”

Celtic manager Neil Lennon before kick-off.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon before kick-off.
Image: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/Press Association Images

CELTIC MANAGER Neil Lennon all but conceded the Champions League last-16 tie with Juventus is over tonight.

Despite a promising start to the game in Glasgow, the Bhoys were ultimately beaten 3-0 by the Serie A giants.

“We need a miracle,” the Armagh native told ITV1. “But it’s the harsh reality of Champions League football and some of my young players will learn a huge lesson tonight. I thought for some 70-odd minutes — until the second goal — we were by far the better side, but you can’t give away goals like we gave away, sloppy.”

Celtic were a goal down within three minutes of kick-off after an awful error by Efe Ambrose — who has just returned from Africa Cup of Nations duty with tournament winners, Nigeria.

“Efe was poor for the first goal but we had good chances to equalise,” said Lennon. “Then we switched off defensively for the second goal and the third goal was poor.”

The former Northern Ireland international was furious about the officiating throughout the game however, insisting Celtic should have had at least one penalty.

Juve defenders — and Stephane Lichtsteiner in particular – wrestled with Gary Hooper and others at corners. But the referee consistently waved away claims for a penalty from the home side and a rabid Celtic Park crowd.

“I’d like to ask the referee, is the game different in Spain or Italy?” Lennon said. “Every time one of my players tried to move he was held. He should have given a penalty on at least two occasions.”

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