Scotland manager Steve Clarke hailed the “tremendous” Tartan Army for their backing as their Euro 2020 dream died.
Luka Modric inspired World Cup finalists Croatia to a convincing 3-1 victory at Hampden, which left Scotland licking their wounds at the bottom of Group D.
But Clarke said there were positives from the campaign, despite only picking up one point and scoring just one goal.
He said: “I am proud of the players and the fact they managed to get here (to a tournament) for the first time in 23 years.
“It was a big thing for the country and a big thing for this group of players. I think tonight we had a team that is tournament-hardened against a team that is in their first tournament in a long time.
“Hopefully we can take the lessons from it and don’t have to wait as long for the next tournament.
“I think we will go away and learn from it for sure; starting on the back foot by losing the first game is something you would need to address in the next one, that set us up for a difficult one.
“We left everything on the pitch at Wembley on Friday and couldn’t quite get it right tonight.
“We had a little spell when we got the goal, but Croatia are a top team and they showed that tonight.”
Conceding five goals in three games is one major concern for Clarke and something he knows needs to be addressed.
He said: “Throughout the three games they have done well and tried their best, they have shown some good qualities, but obviously we don’t want to concede so many goals and it is something we will have to work on.
“We can improve, we have young players in the squad, it is a relatively young group of players, we want to improve together and hopefully we can do that.”
Clarke is hoping Euro 2020 is the first of many tournaments for his squad and says the loyal support deserve to follow their team at the top level.
He said: “We want to go again, we want to get those supporters back, they were tremendous again tonight, even when we were losing 3-1 in the last ten minutes and all you could hear was the Tartan Army backing the team.
“That is really important so we want to try and keep them happy and keep them supporting us.
“We want them to get back to big tournaments because that is what they love.”