Bulgaria-England referee to take charge of Celtic's clash with Lazio

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Ivan Bebek, the referee who halted England's fixture against Bulgaria due to deplorable racist chanting, will take charge of Celtic's Europa League clash with Lazio on Thursday.

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The hugely experienced Croatian official stopped play on two occasions during last week's Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia amid abhorrent behaviour, which included Nazi salutes and monkey noises.

Ivan Bebek speaking with England boss Gareth Southgate during the recent 2020 Euro qualifiers international.

Ivan Bebek speaking with England boss Gareth Southgate during the recent 2020 Euro qualifiers international.

Bebek was following FIFA's new three-step protocol to contend with discriminatory behaviour by supporters after being informed of the abuse by Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate.

The game was ultimately restarted and England emerged as 6-0 winners - however, the contest was overshadowed by the disgusting scenes.

Thursday evening's visitors to Parkhead, Lazio, were given a partial stadium ban for their home game against the Hoops on November 7 after racist behaviour marred their encounter against Rennes earlier this month.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has stated that he would fully back his players in walking off the field if they were subjected to racial abuse, telling the BBC: "I would not discourage any player from walking off the pitch if he's getting racially abused.

Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard celebrates scoring against Cluj in his side's last Europa League outing.

Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard celebrates scoring against Cluj in his side's last Europa League outing.

"I think I would encourage it."

Bebek, who has previously overseen Celtic fixtures against Suduva, Braga and Ajax, will be assisted by compatriots Goran Pataki and Bojan Zobenica. Igor Pajac will act as fourth official.

Meanwhile, Montenegrin whistler Nikola Dabanovic will be the man in the middle for Rangers' visit to Porto.

The 37-year-old took charge of Celtic's impressive 4-1 win against AIK Solna in the Europa League playoff round earlier this season.

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