Celtic boss Neil Lennon turns to SFA over Euro referee

CELTIC plan to enlist the help of the SFA as they take their complaints about referee Alberto Mallenco to Uefa.

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Neil Lennon wants answers over performance of referee Alberto Mallenco
Neil Lennon wants answers over performance of referee Alberto Mallenco

Neil Lennon would like to receive answers to the questions they have about his performance on Tuesday before he takes his side to Turin on March 5 for the return leg against Juventus, in which he hopes they can equal a European club record of eight wins in one season.

The Hoops have compiled a DVD of the worst cases of manhandling by Juve players in the penalty area, offences which went unpunished by Spanish ref Mallenco.

Lennon believes it was a wrong interpretation of Rule 12, which instructs referees to penalise any holding at corners, and this has prompted the Hoops to get in touch with the SFA and Uefa.

He accepts little, if anything can be done retrospectively. But, he still wants answers. Lennon said: "We've compiled a DVD of some footage of the game which we would like someone to give us answers to. We may write a letter just asking for a ruling.

"We played the same team 12 years ago, and the exact same incident happened, and Chris Sutton was awarded a penalty.

"What is the difference from 2001 to 2013? Someone please give me an answer."

Lennon has been supported in his belief the rules were broken by several leading figures in the game.

Former referee Stuart Dougal offered a different take on events, claiming a penalty could not be given because the ball was dead.

Lennon responded: "He is technically correct that the ball has to be in play. But it was going on while the ball was in play.

"Now, Graham Poll, Dermot Gallagher, Gianluca Vialli, Trevor Francis and David Moyes have all said we should have been awarded at least one or two penalties.

"Why the referee didn't do his job is beyond me. It was always a concern with the referee, but I didn't think he would be as poor as Mallenco was on Tuesday.

"I'm not taking anything from Juventus. They deserved to win the game and they are an excellent side. But you have got to apply the letter of the law.

"We knew what Lichtststeiner would do, we knew he was insecure about his defending.

"We told the guys to flag it up, they did that. They did everything right. The only one who didn't do anything right was the referee.

"He was very inconsistent with his decisions, and there were other areas of the game in which I wasn't happy with some of his decisions.

"I will emphasise, we didn't lose because of the referee. But we didn't get what we deserved in terms of penalties because of the referee."

Lennon was only half-joking when he suggested his own players might have to be coached in the dark arts of WWE.

"I may introduce that to our defending now and see what kind of reaction we get," he said.

"I'll say to Wanyama, 'Just put your arms around him and hold him, don't let him run forward. Pull him, drag him, throw him into the goal'.

"You can't do it. It's all very well people saying the Italians have done it for years. It doesn't make it right."

Lennon has also questioned the role played by the extra officials behind the goal-line.

"If they are not allowed to help the referee out, then why are they there? asked Lennon. "I don't understand it."

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