Celtic coach bemoans loss to Juventus

Wednesday February 13 2013



Celtic manager Neil Lennon (above) admits his side needs a miracle if they are to overturn a 3-0 home defeat to Juventus in their Champions League last 16 first leg tie at Parkhead.

The Italian champions put on a clinical display to triumph in Glasgow as they soaked up intense pressure and capitalised on defensive errors to all but book their place in the last eight of the competition.

The Hoops travel to Turin in three weeks for the return leg and Lennon admitted his side face an almost impossible task.

“We need a miracle. We have to try and be competitive and try and work our way into the tie,” Lennon said after his side’s unbeaten home record in Europe this season came to an abrupt end.

“I said to the players at half-time that it was 1-0 and they were fine and there was a long way to go in the second half.

But I just felt their heads dropped when the second goal went in. We looked a little bit ragged towards the end.

Daunting task

“We have got a three-week period between now and then. We know it is a daunting prospect at any stage but with a three-goal deficit it is going to be insurmountable almost.

“If we can create the chances that we did tonight and take them then who knows. But it’s going to be a huge ask now.”

Lennon surprised everyone before kick-off as he handed Efe Ambrose a starting place despite the defender playing in Nigeria’s African Cup of Nations final win over Burkina Faso on Sunday.

But the gamble backfired with the defender at fault for two of Juve’s deadly away goals.

Ambrose was caught out by the flight of Federico Peluso’s long ball in the third minute allowing Alessandro Matri to score and then missed a chance to score when he headed straight at veteran Italian keeper Gianluigi Buffon.