CELTIC MIDFIELDER Kris Commons insisted today that team-mate Efe Ambrose had no accept the blame for his errors in a 3-0 defeat by Juventus that all but ended the Hoops’ Champions League campaign last night.
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.”