Lennon furious at penalty decision

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Neil Lennon claims Udinese's late penalty at Parkhead which cost Celtic their first Europa League Group I win was down to a "disgraceful decision" by Turkish referee Bulent Yildirim.

The Hoops got off to the perfect start when midfielder Ki Sung-yueng scored from the spot in the third minute after striker Gary Hooper had been fouled by Lars Joel Ekstrand, But with four minutes remaining, Yildirim adjudged Hooper to have fouled Neuton Sergio Piccoli in the box and Almen Abdi sent Lukasz Zaluska the wrong way with his penalty.

"It was a disgraceful decision," said Lennon. "Gary Hooper did what he could do to get out of the way."

He added: "Ours was definitely a penalty but the referee deliberated for 20 seconds before giving it. I can't understand that.

"Hooper is very upset and angry as all the players are after putting so much work in to the game. To lose two points after a decision like that is hard to take for the players.

"Of course it will (affect our chance of qualifying). It denied us two points when we wanted to enforce our home advantage. They can take a lot of confidence from the way they played but at the end of the day if the referee does his job properly we win the game."

Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin, who had controversially left several of his star players out, starting the match with only four regulars, refused to be drawn on Lennon's comments.

"I never talk about refereeing decisions," he said. "That is my style."

He was more willing to admit he was ready to take criticism for travelling to Glasgow with such a young squad.

"I came here ready to take flak," he said. "I had prepared a bullet-proof vest but I stood by my decisions and I am happy with the draw.

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Europa League
Neil Lennon
Queens Park Rangers
Gary Hooper

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