PARTIZAN Belgrade are angry with Scottish referee Craig Thomson for damaging their Champions League ambitions, for a second time in seven years.

The Serbians criticised Thomson for his dismissal of defender, Marko Jevtovic, in the play-off first leg away to BATE Borisov on Tuesday night.

Ten-man Partizan went down 1-0 in Belarus to a late Valeri Gordejcuk goal but what rubbed salt into the wound was the fact that a dreadful flying elbow on Partizan defender Fabricio in stoppage time went unpunished by Thomson.

Partizan went into the game fearing the worst because the Edinburgh official made a controversial call in the 2008 Champions League qualifier with Fenerbahce, which they believe cost them a lucrative place in the group stages.

Manager Zoran Milinkovic insisted that the dismissal of Jevtovic in first-half stoppage time for a challenge on Vitaly Rodinov was “really harsh”.

That was Jevtovic’s second yellow card – he had picked up the first for fouling BATE’s former Arsenal player, Alex Hleb, but television viewers around Europe were stunned when BATE’s Nemanja Milunovic caught Fabricio in the face as Partizan went looking for equaliser.

“The crucial factor which determined the result was the dismissal of Jevtovic,“ said Milinkovic. “It was a foul but I don‘t think Jevtovic deserved an early shower. Even by really strict European competition rules, the second yellow was too harsh.”

Jevtovic insisted he was innocent of anything in the second yellow card incident and that Rodinov had dived. “In the second one, I was running away from contact, and he jumped at me and got a foul,” said Jevtovic.

Fans in Belgrade have never forgiven Thomson his decision to award a penalty to Fenerbahce in 2008 which changed the course of the tie.

Partizan were 2-0 up in the first leg of the crunch qualifier, and then had a goal harshly disallowed for offside, when Thomson ruled that striker Alex had been fouled inside the box - TV pictures showed it was outside. Alex converted the penalty and the Turks then made it 2-2, a result they made the most of back in Istanbul with a 2-1 win for 4-3 aggregate.