The only way Celtic can get closer to top Champions League sides like Atletico Madrid is to keep playing and learning at that level.
That is the view of Hoops defender Cameron Carter-Vickers after a humbling defeat at the Metropolitano Stadium on Tuesday night.
Brendan Rodgers’ side only have one point to show from four group stage games in Europe’s flagship competition this season.
And despite some encouraging performances in their first three games, including a 2-2 draw with Atletico and gut wrenching last minute defeat to Lazio, it all came crashing down against the La Liga giants in Madrid with a 6-0 defeat.
After conceding an early goal the Scottish champions really lost their way after they were reduced to ten-men when Daizen Maeda was sent off in the first-half.
And, speaking to the media on Friday ahead of their game against Aberdeen, Carter-Vickers says the squad can only learn from coming up against that type of opposition.
He said: “Obviously disappointed to lose the game and lose it by that many goals, but we look back at it as a team and see what we need to do better. And now it’s all about this weekend.
“Any time you get beat by six, it’s frustrating, and I know we conceded the early goal, but I think with eleven men we were competing pretty well against them.
“The sending off makes it harder for us, but I still think that at that point with ten men we could have done more as a team to limit the amount of goals they scored.
“I think there’s a lot to learn, first of all going down to ten men at that level it’s almost as good as game over, especially when you are already down one goal, so I think when that happens it’s about making some structural changes to the team and maybe having to play in a different way than we are used to to try and limit the chances that they get.
“They are a top quality side, a lot of their goals we were actually in a pretty decent shape, it was mostly their quality and maybe us making small errors that allowed them to score.
“It’s difficult (for teams like Celtic to get closer to teams like Atletico) and I think the more we are exposed to that level of opposition then the better we will get. It takes time, first of all getting into the Champions League and testing yourself at that level.
“And from there, you hope that you grow and learn from the experience and eventually you can compete and win games.
“You’ve just got to focus on every year, making sure you’re playing in the Champions League first, and once you are there try and do better than you did last year.”
Celtic host Aberdeen as they return to Premiership action on Sunday, and the USA international is confident they can get back into their stride and continue their impressive league form.
“Through this period we’ve been playing every three or four days and it’s something we have learned to do and I think as a team it’s something we do pretty well.”
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