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FOOTBALL: Celts boss says Hugh made a big mistake.

CELTIC manager Martin O'Neill last night claimed Hugh Dallas boobed after his controversial spot-kick award handed Italy victory over Turkey.

The Scottish referee was pelted by bottles and coins from Turkish fans after the decision during the opening Group B game in Arnhem.

The shaken ref was even offered police protection afterwards by UEFA chiefs who feared for his safety.

The attack was witnessed by a worldwide TV audience and must have brought brought back memories of the Old Firm shame game at Parkhead.

Back in May 1999, Dallas required several stitches after he was struck on the forehead by a coin thrown from the Celtic end of the stadium.

Yesterday, the 41-year-old miraculously escaped unhurt as missiles rained down on him from Turkish fans, who arrived in the Low Countries with a reputation for trouble.

However, Parkhead boss O'Neill, commentating on the tournament for the BBC, claimed the incident could have been avoided.

O'Neill said: "Dallas was adamant it was a penalty but I think if he saw it again he would change his mind."

Dallas pointed to the spot midway through the second half, with the score 1-1, when he decided Turkey defender Ogun pushed Filippo Inzaghi inside the area.

The striker converted the spot-kick himself to give Italy a 2-1 victory but he admitted it was a soft decision.

Inzaghi said: "This penalty was a lucky one. It was debatable but we reacted well."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Duncan, Colin
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 12, 2000
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