CELTIC may “just have been unlucky” in their Champions League Group F encounters.

That’s the verdict of Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior, the man who started the Hoops’ decline in Europe’s elite competition by scoring the opening goal in his side’s 3-0 victory at Parkhead almost two months ago.

The reigning European champions weathered the storm in Glasgow and were fortunate to go in at half-time level after Callum McGregor had smashed a shot against the inside of a post and Liel Abada missed an earlier opportunity.

OUT OF LUCK…Callum McGregor hit the Real Madrid woodwork.

OFF TARGET…Daizen Maeda fluffed a marvellous chance shortly after the turnaround.

Daizen Maeda also passed up a great chance smack in front of goal shortly after the turnaround before Vinicius Junior tucked one behind Joe Hart and Luka Modric added a quickfire second on the hour mark. It was all over by the time Eden Hazard knocked in the third.

Celtic bring down the curtain on their European adventure for another season when they face Carlo Ancelotti’s all-stars in the Bernabeu tomorrow night.

The Hoops have collected a mere two points from a possible 15 points after 1-1 draws with Shakhtar Donetesk, but were undone by back-to-back losses against RB Leipzig, 1-3 away and 0-2 at home.

Now there is just pride to play for in the Spanish capital for Ange Postecoglou’s men and Vinicius Junior expressed surprise at the situation.

The Brazilian wing wonder admitted: “I am not sure Celtic’s position in the group reflects their quality. In the first game, they gave us a difficult first-half and it was a tight game.

GOING DOWN…Joe Hart is left helpless as Eden Hazard steers in Real Madrid’s third goal.

“Eventually our quality showed, but the way they played for 60 minutes, I was sure they would pick up more points than they have.

“Maybe they have just been unlucky.”

Vinicius Junior, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “Even if Celtic’s journey in the Champions League this season is over, they are a proud team and will want to get a positive result in their last game.

“This is a game where there is still much for us to play for. We are qualified, but our aim was to always win the group, so it is still important for us.

“For Real Madrid, the ambition is always to win the Champions League, but for now we are focused on Celtic and winning the group.”

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