DEVASTATED James Forrest admitted Celtic “blew it” in their Champions League exit to AEK Athens in the Olympic Stadium last night.
The Hoops toppled 2-1 to crash out of the competition 3-2 on aggregate against the Greek title-winners.
Brendan Rodgers’ side flew home united in the agreement they had lost to inferior opponents, failing to beat them home and away.
The Parkhead men gifted the Greeks three goals over the two legs and now have a Europa League play-off to look forward to as a consolation.
Celtic had been confident of making the Champions League group stages for the third successive season under the guidance of Rodgers, but fatal defensive collapses cost them dearly, something in the region of £40million.
Forrest, who was making his 300th appearance for the Hoops, didn’t hide from the sorry issue as he trudged out of the stadium.
The Scotland international winger insisted: “It was very disappointing, the way we conceded as a team.
“We have not had many nights like this under the manager, but we have to come back from it. It’s hard because we played well for two games, yet they took their chances.
“We could have defended better as a team and we are disappointed.
“If we’d been outclassed, it might have been easier to take, but we weren’t.
“In the first leg, they had one attack in the game and they scored from it.
“Once they went down to 10 men, we didn’t manage to kick on and get the second goal, but we still came here convinced we could do something.
“Then we conceded early and then did the same at the beginning of the second. That is the most disappointing part.
“We know that we are a good team and we know that we should have gone through. Now we just have to deal with it.
“In the last 10 minutes, our fitness levels were better and they were struggling. We had a couple of half-chances when we could have scored, but it’s done.
“The manager tried to stay upbeat. He just said that you get punished in Europe for giving up chances and that’s what happened to us.
“We just need to make sure we stay in Europe now. We have to get into the Europa League, at least.”