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Feb 15, 2013

Bhoys want answers over referee

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has revealed the club is pushing UEFA for answers over referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco's performance in their 3-0 defeat to Juventus.

• No UEFA action against Lennon
• Celtic blog: Proud of the Bhoys
• Juventus blog: Quality decisive

Celtic were incensed that the officials had allowed manhandling to take place on several occasions during corner kicks in Tuesday's Champions League clash, with Lennon saying after the match at Parkhead that he felt Mallenco has been "very pro-Juventus".

The Bhoys now plan to submit video evidence to the governing body.

"The referee didn't do his job and there has been a lot of talk since Tuesday night regarding it so we are looking for clarification on the referee's decisions during the game," he said. "We are going to compile a DVD and send it to them (UEFA) and wait and see what answers we do get."

He added: "It's a myth that Juventus 'did their homework'. That's rubbish. Juventus defend like that week-in, week-out in Serie A. If anything we had done our homework and we made sure the referee was aware of it and he was looking at it time and again and Juventus went unpunished. We needed a strong referee and we didn't have that.

"It was blatant. I have seen photographs where the shirt was almost pulled off Gary Hooper's back and he ends up at one stage in the goal. I admire Gary for keeping his cool - if it had been me I might have got sent off for something I would have regretted later on.

"As I said after the game, 10 or 11 years ago we got a penalty against Juventus in the exact same circumstances, the player was warned about grappling with Chris Sutton, the corner comes in he did again and the referee gave a penalty. Have the rules changes since then?

"Gianluca Vialli said we should have had two penalties, (former referees) Graham Poll and Dermot Gallagher... Trevor Francis said that even in his time in the '80s (in Italy) it was never as blatant as what he saw the other night, so these guys can't all be wrong and the referee right.''

Lennon also backed defender Efe Ambrose, who was at fault for two of Juve's goals as well as passing up a good chance to score.

Team-mate Kris Commons said afterwards that the Nigeria international, who had returned from the African Nations Cup on the morning of the game, must take the blame for saying he was ready to play.

However, Lennon said: "On reflection, if I had the opportunity to change anything I wouldn't - I would go with the same team. Efe made two basic mistakes but he had the clear-cut chance of the game for us and if he had scored then no one would have been talking about his selection.

"I spoke to him and he said he was ready to play. When you make basic mistakes like Efe did then you are open to criticism and he has apologised for his performance.

"However, he has been a fantastic signing. He has added a new dimension to the way we play and some of his performances in the Champions League this season have been of an exceptionally high standard and so he doesn't need to apologise. We all have bad nights."

The Northern Irishman was also happy to forgive Commons for his outspoken remarks.

"It was heat of the moment stuff," he said. "I have spoken to Kris about it and it has been dealt with internally, and there is no bad feeling from anyone. Kris really cares and he was disappointed but he did overstep the line a little bit. Sometimes you have to keep your emotions in check."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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