Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers admitted his disappointment at the manner of the 2-0 defeat to Feyenoord and said inexperience was the cause of two sendings off.
A free kick from 30 yard by Calvin Stengs put the Dutch champions ahead just before half time and a goal from substitute Alizera Jahanbakhsh put the result beyond doubt but second half red cards for Gustaf Lagerbielke and Odin Thiago Holm before the second goal played a major part in the defeat in Rotterdam.
Lagerbialke was dismissed after picking up a second yellow card when conceding a penalty that Joe Hart saved, while Holm was sent off instantly for a challenge on Mats Wieffer.
Rodgers had been fairly pleased with his side’s performance in the first half but was left ruiing his side’s set-up when defending the free kick that Stegns scored from.
Celtic’s wall failed to stop the strike, with a gap opened up by Kyogo and a Feyenoord player allowing the ball through.
“I feel for the players,” Rodgers told TNT Sports. “I think for the first 60 minutes it was a very even game against a team that’s doing well and scoring a lot of goals, and we matched them.
“I’m disappointed with the goal. We made a decision in the game to adjust the wall and it cost us, but we’ll take that, I don’t mind players making decisions in-game.
“Very disappointed with the two sendings off and nine men is obviously very difficult.”
Reflecting on the two red cards, the manager put the players’ decision making down to inexperience. Lagerbielke had caught Igor Paixao in the throat with his arm while trying to block the attacker’s progress in the box, while Holm had lunged in trying to win the ball back quickly from Weiffer.
“First one you just have to shepherd it through to the goalkeeper,” Rodgers said. “Don’t get into the fight as it’s getting to Joe Hart, it’s just inexperience.
“And Odin is a fantastic young player, he’ll learn from that, you can’t go to ground like that, particularly in Europe and he’ll learn from that.”
Celtic have five more matches in Group E and play Lazio next, with the Italian side having come from behind to secure a 1-1 home draw against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night.
Rodgers is still optimistic there’s plenty of time for his side to pursue their aim of European football after Christmas.
He added: “If we get to the last game to play Feyenoord at home with everything to play for, we’ll be in with a fantastic chance.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country