Swede Marcus Berg's second-half goal was enough to give Hamburg all three points in the Europa League game at Celtic Park last night and the result leaves Celtic firmly rooted at the bottom of the Group C table.
The Hoops, as has happened so often this season, failed to make the most of the chances that they created and once again they took nothing from a match that they put so much endeavour into. Now they have three fixtures left in the competition, including away ties in Vienna and Hamburg, and even the most optimistic Celtic fans won't be looking to garner too much from those trips.
"It's never completely gone until it's mathematically over and done with." said winger Aiden McGeady. "But we need to win our three remaining games to be sure of going through to the next stage of the competition and that's a massive ask. That's much easier said than done."
"We might have lost to the side I consider to be the best in our group but it's still a bitter disappointment." he added. "We were a bit better than we have been in recent weeks and no one could say the desire and commitment weren't there on the night. But we didn't take any of our opportunities to score - not half chances, not anything that came our way. We're Celtic and we should be better than that."
Defender Mark Wilson was disappointed with the team's performance and lamented the passing of Fortress Parkhead. "I don't think we passed the ball well enough at all," he said after the game. "Too many five-yard passes went astray and at this level in Europe that tends to punish you. They kept the ball really well but they didn't cause us too many problems until the goal where I think it was a catalogue of errors. We couldn't get it back after that. I played through the tail end when Celtic Park was a kind of fortress in Europe and teams feared coming here, but I think we have lost that a bit."
Boss Tony Mowbray was upset by the loss to the team who are joint top of the Bundesliga and he insisted that he couldn't complain about the effort put in by his players but he warned them that more than honest toil was required if they are to have a future at the club. "Celtic fans should be happy with the endeavour, commitment and desire, all those words which should be stick-ons for footballers rather than demanded of them." he said. "It's up to the players to prove that come January they are good enough to play for this club and for these supporters. They will watch the matches and will see the misplaced passes, the miscontrolled balls and over-hit passes as I see them."
"Until we can get in the right footballers with the quality who can let the game flow and there is an end product, the Celtic supporters will still stick with the club because that is what they always do as we try to improve." said Mowbray. "I will try to find players of the right quality to lift the team and give us a chance to compete at this level on a better footing. We have to find those players. We are working hard behind the scenes. Everyone is putting in a lot of miles and hours. I hope the fruits of that hard work will be there for all to see come the next transfer window.
"We have an honest group." he concluded. "They are hard-working and dedicated professional footballers. I have just left the dressing room and they are being very harsh on themselves. They want to make the team better."
Mark Wilson agreed with his boss. "We're not going to give up." he said. "We'll try and win every game we can. But it's going to be very tough. We've a new manager and since he has come in the players haven't set the place alight. It's been a pretty disappointing start to the season and with a new manager you're always playing for your career. So I think he has got a point, he can only judge the players on what he has seen and it's been poor."