Champions League: Neil Lennon admits Celtic need a 'miracle' to overcome Juventus

Scottish league leaders were beaten 3-0 by the Italian side

Neil Lennon has to rally his troops for a “miracle” trip to Turin following Celtic's 3-0 Champions League defeat by Juventus at Parkhead last night.

Goals from Alessandro Matri, Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vucinic in the first leg of their last-16 tie all but ended the Hoops' European hopes.

The Celtic boss, surveying the damage and what lies ahead in the return game in fortnight's time, said: "We need a miracle. We have to try to be competitive and try to work our way into the tie but last night was the harsh reality of football at this level.

"We didn't get off to a good start but our reaction was fantastic.

"For 70 or 80 minutes we played fantastic football and were on the front foot.

"We needed a goal and Efe Ambrose had a great chance and that would have galvanised us.

"But the second goal burst the bubble and if you make defensive mistakes at this level you get punished and that's what happened."

Lennon blasted Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco and his officials for their reluctance to punish the Juventus players for what at times resembled a wrestling match in the visitors' box.

The Northern Irishman said: "I would like to ask the Italian journalists what they made of the way Juventus marked our players.

"It looked to me as if they were fouling at every opportunity.

"The referee was warned by our players to keep an eye on it but he ignored our requests time and again.

"Are the rules different in Spain and Italy to what they are in Britain? On that showing they must be.

"We played Juventus in 2001 here and Montero was marking Chris Sutton and the referee warned him but he persisted with it and he gave a penalty and we went on to win 4-3, so what is the difference?

"It is not rugby they are playing it is soccer. There is a way to defend and we do it as fairly as possible."

Juventus manager Antonio Conte, who stayed away from any controversy when told about Lennon's assessment of the referee, was satisfied with his side's performance during what was at times a frantic match.

He said: "Celtic are a good team but we knew this, and there was a fantastic crowd who were like two extra men and that can only drive a team on.

"So it was a difficult match for us, but we kept our heads.

"Celtic played with great intensity but we showed great maturity and overall it was an excellent result for us."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower