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LOST KOS!; Cheating ref was never going to let us win, blasts whining Slovak boss.

Loudmouth Kosice boss Jan Kozak last night branded Celtic star Paolo Di Canio a CHEAT.

And the seething Slovak claimed Finnish ref Juha Hirviniemi had booted his club out of last night's UEFA Cup crunch.

Celtic battled into Friday's first round draw with a last-gasp winner from Jorge Cadete in a dramatic Euro night that also saw Aberdeen scrape through despite a dismal 3-1 DEFEAT.

But Kozak claimed that his tough-tackling side - who had a man sent off, then survived an 81st minute penalty kick - were on a loser from the start. He stormed: "Tonight we played against a side with 14 players.

"They used 12 on the park, the 13th was the crowd and the 14th was the referee.

"Can anyone in this room tell me why that penalty was given ?

"And we don't know why Karol Prazenica was sent off."

Kozak's swipe came after a tense night that saw Celts finally break down the rugged Slovaks, despite missing that spot-kick.

Pierre van Hooijdonk blew the chance from the spot after Italian ace Paolo Di Canio, a 52nd minute substitute, crashed in the box following a shove from Vladislav Zvara.

Kosice keeper Norbert Juracka got down quickly to block the big striker's penalty.

But Kozak slammed: "I expected Di Canio to be playing from the START of this match - just to get a penalty.

"I have told the referee that the three officials who played tonight were three zeroes."

Celts boss Tommy Burns hit back: "The lads tell me that there was no question at all over the incident. It WAS a penalty.

"We are just delighted with the result because we had to work exceptionally hard to get it.

"Kosice showed they are very well organised and it takes time to break teams like that down.

"We didn't play as well as we can but we kept going to the end."

Burns then heaped praise on keeper Gordon Marshall for a crucial second- half save which kept the Slovakians out. He said: "We had some great contributions tonight and the goalkeeper in particular made a great save at a crucial time.

"He's done that SEVERAL times now and he seems to be maturing.

"We owe big Marsh a big favour for that one.

"John Hughes also did well at the back, as did Jackie McNamara down the flank.

"Peter Grant worked hard in midfield and up front Thom created the chance and Cadete got on the end of it.

"Di Canio also showed enough to suggest he's got very useful qualities to bring to our team.

"It's all about learning and we've learned a few things tonight.

"Once the penalty was missed you started to think about extra time.

"But deep down I always felt there was enough there to create chances and take one and so it proved."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Jackson, Keith
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 21, 1996
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