The post-match narrative of a 3-0 win for Juventus in Glasgow last month was not dominated by the ruthlessness of the Italians nor, indeed, by what credit Celtic were due for their bold tactical approach.

Rather the unwillingness of the referee, Alberto Undiano Mallenco, to deal with the grappling of Juventus players at the time of Celtic corners proved the key talking point. Celtic have taken the matter to Uefa, from whom they are awaiting a response.

As Neil Lennon takes his side to Turin for Wednesday's second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie, there is a concession from the manager that progress to the quarter-final requires "a miracle". With that in mind, the tactics of Juventus – and the stance of the match officials – will inevitably again come to the fore.

"We are waiting on a phone call," said Lennon. "We were told that Pierluigi Collina [now a member of Uefa's referees' committee] would call us, we had an assurance that he would give us a call just to clear a few things. We are still waiting on that coming through.

"All we want is a phone call, an explanation, can our players do it in the game? Will he admit that the referee got it wrong? I don't know."

Lennon added: "From our point of view it was illegal what they were doing. The referee should have been stronger. I just felt the referee didn't do his job properly. I have also been assured by people within the Scottish FA about the directives we were shown at the start of the season, all the managers, emphasising that holding in the box would be reported. We felt the referee let us down on the night."

Lennon has followed Mallenco's subsequent matches: "I think the Spanish referee has caused a bit of controversy in recent games; at Bilbao and I don't think Barcelona were very complimentary about him, either."

Celtic's aspirations of winning Wednesday's match against the Italian champions are boosted by the return from injury of Georgios Samaras. The absence of the mercurial Greek forward for the first leg was a strong mitigating circumstance as the hosts toiled in front of goal.

Lennon does not, however, expect a less clinical touch from Juventus than was displayed in Glasgow. "They are very professional," he said. "They are meticulous, they don't take any chances. It is up to us to try and find a way through. With Samaras in the team, that gives us a better option."

Although their exit is now inevitable, Celtic can take confidence from their return to European prominence. The collection of 10 points from a group which included Barcelona took them to a place no Scottish club had been before in the Champions League and there was also a memorable win over the Catalan giants to boost the stock of Lennon and his players.

"It has been phenomenal," Lennon said. "The only disappointing thing is the scoreline from this first game. It took a little bit of a shine off things. We did look bit naïve at times towards the end of the first leg. When you come up against real top-quality, sometimes that happens.

"It has been fantastic and, like everything else, as soon as you get a bit of success you want more. Again we are going down a long [qualifying] road in July and preparations for that will be imperative once the season starts to wind down."

He added: "The Champions League is the blue riband event, the atmosphere, the quality of the games and the pace, the experience that we the backroom team and the players get is invaluable, really. I have absolutely loved it."

Elimination may be forthcoming but Lennon and his team are determined to relish their Italian trip.