NEIL LENNON last night defended his selection of Efe Ambrose as he responded to criticism on social media sites.

The Celtic manager, responding on his Twitter account, said he picked the Nigerian defender because "I wanted the pace at centre- half, plus he and Kelvin [Wilson] have been fantastic together in Europe''.

Ambrose made two mistakes that led to goals in Celtic's 3-0 defeat by Juventus in the last 16 Champions League tie at Parkhead on Tuesday night. The defender had played in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday, only arriving back in Glasgow on the day of the game.

Loading article content

An accusing finger was pointed at the defender by his team-mate, Kris Commons, in the wake of a defeat that leaves the return leg in Turin on March 6 irrelevant in terms of who progresses to the last eight of the tournament.

However, Kelvin Wilson, Ambrose's partner in central defence, has supported his team-mate, believing he can come back quickly from a dismal night.

"Efe's a big boy, he will recover from it,'' said the English defender. "We all have situations like that and, unfortunately, Efe's had it against Juventus. It's a massive, massive game but Efe's got great experience, he's just won the Africa Cup of Nations and he'll come back from it, he'll bounce back from it, no problem."

Ambrose also missed a good chance at 1-0 and Wilson conceded: ''We definitely felt disappointed to be losing at the break. We had some great chances, especially from set pieces which we're known to be good at. There was Efe's chance, then Victor's.

"But when you take chances and give the ball away like we did, then you get punished at this level."

Celtic went behind after just two minutes when Ambrose was caught under a long ball and Wilson said: ''It was a real blow. You have all the preparation, then that happens. You can't put your finger on it.

"Juventus had four attempts on goal and scored three. So that shows you the quality we were up against.''

He was philosophical about the wrestling matches at corners that caused so much controversy in the aftermath of the match.

"I think that's what Italian defenders are renowned for, making sure they get hold of you. I'm a defender myself, so I'm not going to say bad things about it,'' he said. "It's good defending in my eyes. I would do the same at the other end. That's football. You've just got to get on with it at times. You can't always moan about decisions."

The Italians were gracious in victory with Gianluigi Buffon, their peerless goalkeeper, saying: "Celtic are an excellent side and they showed that.''

He added: "We were clinical and ruthless. We have to be honest, though: the game hinged on a couple of decisive moments.''