Ray Wilkins
Football Expert

Celtic's Champions League quarter-final hopes are over, says Ray Wilkins

Lennon: Huge task ahead

Celtic's hopes of reaching the Champions League quarter-finals are over after Juventus picked them off on the counter-attack, says Ray Wilkins.

"It was always going to be very difficult because Juventus are a very, very talented group of guys."

Ray Wilkins

The Hoops didn't recover after conceding a third-minute Alessandro Matri goal and were beaten 3-0 in the first leg of their last-16 match after Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vucinic also found the net late on.

Wilkins told Sky Sports HD that the margin of the Italian champions' advantage means that the second leg is inconsequential.

"The tie is over unfortunately. I'd love to say that wasn't the case but going back to Turin 3-0 down [will be tough].

"It was always going to be very difficult because Juventus are a very, very talented group of guys. Defensively they'll set themselves up where they will not be beaten.

"I fancied Juventus strongly because Celtic, because of their support and the atmosphere at the over, just flooded forward in their droves.

"That gave Juventus the opportunity to hit them on the counter-attack and that's exactly what they did."

Strong

Celtic boss Neil Lennon admitted that his side will "need a miracle" in Turin on March 6 to progress to the next round of the competition but stressed that "the score line flatters Juventus".

Gaizka Mendieta, a Champions League runner-up with Valencia in 2000 and 2001, told Sky Sports that Celtic paid the price for making too many defensive errors.

"Juventus are a very experienced and well-balanced team, with Andrea Pirlo as the main director of the team and he's in top form. They've got Marchisio too, so the work ethic is very strong," he said.

"Celtic tried from the first moment to score a goal but when you put so much effort into the game at some point you are going to leave spaces and Juventus knew they were going to have their chances."

Lennon accused Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco of being pro-Juventus on the basis that he felt his players were being unfairly impeded in the penalty area at corners.

Gary Hooper and Scott Brown were booked by the referee for holding as was Juve's Stephan Lichtsteiner, bur former Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner told Soccer Special that the Hoops shouldn't use the issue as an excuse for their defeat.

"Juventus defended really well. There was a bit of controversy around the corners and the way they defended - the pulling and the hauling was a bit like rugby at times. It could have been like Gaelic football, in fact!

"But certainly Juventus do that well; they defended that and Celtic didn't have plan B, that was the issue.

He added: "It was hard to watch at times because Celtic didn't create the chances that they needed.

"The tie is over but the Celtic fans still have a game to enjoy ; they'll go out to Turin and they'll sing, they'll party and celebrate this run that they've had in the Champions League.

"Celtic were probably caught between two trains of thought - will we press high up the pitch, will we try to kill that space where Pirlo plays? Or will we drop off and play on the counter-attack? They chose the first option and it hasn't worked."

Watch the second leg between Juventus and Celtic live on Sky Sports on March 6