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'Ambrose must take blame for errors' says Kris Commons
Published : 13 Feb 2013 13:46:56
Celtic midfielder Kris Commons insisted team-mate Efe Ambrose had to accept the blame for his errors in a 3-0 defeat by Juventus that all but ended the Hoops' Champions League campaign.
Nigeria defender Ambrose only arrived back in Glasgow on the morning of Tuesday's match at Parkhead, having helped the Super Eagles win the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.
It was a bold, and subsequently much criticised, decision by Celtic manager Neil Lennon to include Ambrose in his starting line-up and the Nigeria star had a nightmare match.
Ambrose gifted Alessandro Matri an early goal, missed Celtic's best chance of the match when, unmarked, he headed straight at Gianluigi Buffon from barely six yards out, and then lost possession to allow Mirko Vucinic to claim a late third goal that all but booked Juventus's place in the quarter-finals.
Lennon's selection of Ambrose came under sever scrutiny but Commons, in interviews with several Scottish newspapers, said the player had to shoulder the bulk of responsibility for mistakes that appear to have made the second leg of this last 16 clash in Turin in three weeks' time a 'dead' match.
"Look, the manager picked him," Commons said. "The manager pulled him to one side and asked him if he was feeling okay. He said he was feeling brilliant.
"If he wasn't feeling okay then he should have said so.
"If he felt good then he should have put in a better performance."
A frustrated Commons added: "It was just very sloppy individual mistakes - something you'd probably get away with on a playground, not in the last 16 of the Champions League.
"There are certain individuals who let the team down.
"Hopefully this is just a one-off. The back four have made errors which have probably cost us the tie. But it's partly down to them why we're here in the first place.
"It's just a bitter one to swallow."
Meanwhile Commons was as dismayed as Lennon was after the match by Spanish referee Alberto Mallenco's handling of the tie.
The game was marred by bouts of wrestling between the Juve defenders and Celtic forwards at every corner for the home side and Commons told BBC Scotland: ""You've got a referee there, a guy behind the goal, a linesman - the whole idea of the official behind the goal is to look out for this sort of stuff.
"If he can't identify when people are being hauled, manhandled, wrestled to the floor, then I don't think he should be in a job.
"He's 10 or 15 yards away and if it was a clear foul, it should have been a penalty.
"He said if you do it again they'll get a penalty -- that was in the first half. He kept stopping it and booking people and telling people to stop it.
"It clearly had no effect because right up until the 91st minute when we had a corner, it was still going on."