Neil Lennon castigated Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco after Celtic were beaten 3-0 by Juventus at Parkhead but was reluctant to acknowledge he had made an error in starting defender Efe Ambrose.

Lennon admitted the Bhoys needed "a miracle" if they were to progress through to the quarter-finals after goals from Alessandro Matri, Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vucinic in Tuesday night's first leg.

However, the Celtic boss was raging with the referee and his officials for their reluctance to punish Juventus players, in particular Stephan Lichtsteiner, for what at times resembled a wrestling match in the visitors' penalty area.

efe ambrose

Ambrose had a nightmare

"I would like to ask the Italian journalists what they made of the way Juventus marked our players," Lennon said. "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."

He added: "We were getting hauled back and the referee is looking straight at it. 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 (Paolo) 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? What is the Spanish referee's interpretation of that?"

By that point Celtic were already trailing after Efe Ambrose, who would later be culpable for Vucinic's strike, gifted Juve an early lead with some dithering defending. He also headed a presentable chance straight at Gianluigi Buffon when left unmarked with the visitors only a goal ahead.

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  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio celebrates after scoring the second goal against Celtic during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/GRAHAM STUART (Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's Italian striker Alessandro Matri (L) celebrates with teammates defender Claudio Marchisio (2nd L) and Andreas Pirlo (C) after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/IAN MACNICOL (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Alessandro Matri of Juventus shoots past Fraser Forster (L) of Celtic on his way to scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus players celebrate after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/GRAHAM STUART (Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Mikael Lustig of Celtic competes with Claudio Marchisio of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio (L) scores their second goal against Celtic during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/GRAHAM STUART (Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Celtic manager Neil Lennon reacts during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Mikael Lustig of Celtic competes with Claudio Marchisio of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio celebrates after scoring the second goal against Celtic during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/GRAHAM STUART (Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's Italian defender Claudio Marchisio celebrates scoring a rebound goal that was awarded to teammate Italian striker Alessandro Matri during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/IAN MACNICOL (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's Montenegrian striker Mirko Vucinic (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring the third goal against Celtic during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/GRAHAM STUART (Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Celtic Efe Ambrose reacts during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Celtic manager Neil Lennon reacts during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Celtic Efe Ambrose (c) misses a golden chance to score during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Celtic manager Neil Lennon reacts during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Celtic manager Neil Lennon reacts during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Celtic players Anthony Watt (l) and Gary Hooper look on dejectedly after the third Juventus goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio celebrates after scoring the second goal against Celtic during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/IAN MACNICOL (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Celtic Efe Ambrose reacts during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's Leonardo Bonucci (2L) leads his teammates in celebration after a 3-0 victory against Celtic during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/GRAHAM STUART (Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's players celebrate after a 3-0 victory against Celtic during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/GRAHAM STUART (Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio celebrates after scoring the second goal against Celtic during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/IAN MACNICOL (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Celtic players Anthony Watt (r) and Gary Hooper look on dejectedly after the third Juventus goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's Italian striker Alessandro Matri scores the opening goal (as awarded by UEFA) past Celtic's English goalkeeper Fraser Forster during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/IAN MACNICOL (Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Kris Commons of Celtic competes with Martin Caceres of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Kelvin Wilson of Celtic fails to keep out the first goal scored by Alessandro Matri of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Scott Brown of Celtic competes with Andrea Pirlo of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Celtic's English striker Gary Hooper (2nd L) is blocked by Juventus's goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon (R) during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/GRAHAM STUART (Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Kelvin Wilson of Celtic fails to keep out the first goal scored by Alessandro Matri of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Charlie Mulgrew of Celtic competes with Arturo Vidal of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Charlie Mulgrew of Celtic competes with Arturo Vidal of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Celtic manager Neil Lennon reacts during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's Italian striker Alessandro Matri scores the opening goal (as awarded by UEFA) during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/IAN MACNICOL (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Kris Commons of Celtic competes with Martin Caceres of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Claudio Marchisio of Juventus (r) is challenged by Scott Brown of Celtic during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's manager Antonio Conte attends the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/GRAHAM STUART (Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's Italian striker Alessandro Matri (L) challenges Celtic's Nigerian defender Efe Ambrose during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/IAN MACNICOL (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Celtic's English striker Gary Hooper (R) vies with Juventus's Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo (L) during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/GRAHAM STUART (Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Celtic's English striker Gary Hooper (R) vies with Juventus's Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo (L) during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/GRAHAM STUART (Photo credit should read GRAHAM STUART/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Kris Commons of Celtic competes with Arturo Vidal of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Juventus's manager Antonio Conte reacts during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/IAN MACNICOL (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Scott Brown of Celtic reacts to a missed chance during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Celtic's English goalkeeper Fraser Forster is pictured during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/IAN MACNICOL (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-EUR-C1-CELTIC-JUVENTUS

    Celtic's English striker Kris Commons (front) tries an overhead kick past Juventus's Andrea Barzagli during the UEFA Champions League last sixteen football match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic park in Glasgow, Scotland, on February 12, 2013. AFP PHOTO/IAN MACNICOL (Photo credit should read Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Kelvin Wilson of Celtic (l) fails to keep out the first goal scored by Alessandro Matri of Juventus during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

  • Celtic v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Round of 16

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Gary Hooper of Celtic reacts during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Celtic and Juventus at Celtic Park Stadium on February 12, 2013 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of Sixteen - First Leg - Celtic v Juventus - Celtic Park

    Celtic's James Forrest (left) and Juventus' Martin Caceres (right) battle for the ball

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of Sixteen - First Leg - Celtic v Juventus - Celtic Park

    Celtic's Gary Hooper (right) and Juventus' Martin Caceres (left) battle for the ball

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of Sixteen - First Leg - Celtic v Juventus - Celtic Park

    Celtic's Mikael Lustig (right) and Juventus' Arturo Vidal (left) battle for the ball

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of Sixteen - First Leg - Celtic v Juventus - Celtic Park

    Juventus' Claudio Marchisio celebrates scoring his teams first goal of the game with teammates

  • Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Round of Sixteen - First Leg - Celtic v Juventus - Celtic Park

    Juventus' Claudio Marchisio has an attempt on goal

Ambrose had featured for Nigeria in their 1-0 African Cup of Nations final win over Burkina Faso on Sunday and did not arrive back in Glasgow until Tuesday. However Lennon was reluctant to admit he had made a mistake by starting the Nigerian.

"He was caught for the first goal but it was nothing to do with tiredness and I felt once he got over that he was fine," the Northern Irishman added.

"In hindsight and maybe it was a bit of gamble."