A frustrated Scott Ruscoe has slammed the penalty decision that has given his The New Saints side a tough task to reach the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League.

The decision was given early in the second half for an alleged foul by Keston Davies on goalscorer Pieros Sotiriou with Robert Skov stepping up.

TV replays later showed the penalty was a harsh one and Ruscoe lamented his side’s lack of luck in their defeat at Park Hall.

“It was a poor decision and 9.9 times out of 10, we don’t get that,” he said.

“In so many games across the world, you don’t get that penalty given – he got the shot off and he didn’t score.

“The defender is always going to make a lunge but from my view, Copenhagen don’t need any extra help from the referee do they?

“They certainly didn’t need the referee giving them a penalty.

“If the decision had gone our way attacking wise, of course we’d be thinking ‘we’ve got one there’ – of course we would.

“We started the second half really well, we had really good tempo and it was a decent start.

“This was after we had told them at half-time that they had shown them far too much respect.”

Despite the scoreline, Saints were always in the first leg tie with chances for Ryan Brobbel and Jamie Mullan.

And Ruscoe admitted he was delighted with their efforts and attitude on a tough day.

He added: “I think we had the best chances in the game but in terms of openings and them carving us open, I don’t think they did.

“I think we had the better chances. I think ultimately that decision has killed our game plan but ultimately we’re in the tie still because it’s only 2-0.

“Credit to the lads for staying in the tie and sticking to the plan. I’m proud of all of them, but it’s tough when the decisions go against us, especially with their little pushes off the ball.

“The words were ‘respect the opposition’ but go at them.

“It’s easy to say that in the dressing room but I’ve been in that experience and know exactly what I’m trying to say.

“They’re an excellent side but don’t fear them.”

Ruscoe added that he believes his side are still in the tie despite trailing 2-0 and will be drilling home the message that chances will be crucial to any success in Denmark.

And he will be hoping for a slice of luck of receiving a refereeing decision in their favour that could help their campaign.