GORDON STRACHAN admitted he thought Emilio Izaguirre was unlucky to see red in the 2-2 draw with Ajax.
The Honduran defender was sent off with 17 minutes still to play after a needless foul on winger Anwar El Ghazi.
Izaguirre had already been booked for a challenge on Kenny Tete deep in the Ajax half. He was warned by Italian referee Luca Banti after another dodgy tackle before being banished.
However, Scotland international boss Strachan had sympathy with Izaguirre who will now miss next month’s home game against Fenerbahce.
He said: “The game-changer was undoubtedly the sending-off.
“I was sitting watching the game and thinking: ‘This is good. Ajax haven’t had many chances.’
“Celtic were comfortable at that point and making the better opportunities. Izaguirre was trying to do his best for the team at the first yellow card.
“I didn’t even think it was a foul. No-one was going to get hurt and there was no way they could mount a serious attack from that position.
“The second card was unfortunate because he went to ground.
“It’s not even a tackle as such – it’s more of a block. But the Ajax player was in a threatening position, so it was a booking.
“The red card was something that was going to happen because I think he made a worse tackle about two minutes before that.”
Strachan also defended the Celtic back lot after conceding yet another goal from a deadball situation when Lasse Schone’s free-kick from the left zoomed straight into the net for the late leveller.
He said: “I don’t think they could defend that ball, unless they’ve got six players at 6ft 7in all along the six-yard line.
“I just thought it was such a fantastic delivery from the Ajax player.”
The Scots boss also had a quick word about Kris Commons, who was starting his first European tie of the season.
He added: “Kris was influential all night. He can beat people, not with pace, but sheer ability.
“We saw that at the first goal when he set up Nir Bitton.”