Celtic's Europa League campaign came to a frustrating end with a 1-0 defeat by Internazionale at San Siro last night after Virgil van Dijk was sent off in the first half.
The Scottish champions were more than holding their own until the defender was shown red by the referee Ivan Kruzliak in the 36th minute after picking up two yellow cards. It was an uphill task for Ronny Deila’s side thereafter and they never really came close to getting the vital goal they needed.
Then, with two minutes remaining, Fredy Guarin drilled in a wonderful strike to secure the tie and take a rather unconvincing Serie A side into the last 16.
Midfielder Stuart Armstrong said Celtic had been left “feeling hard done by” after the defeat – particularly with Van Dijk’s red card.
“Disappointing is the word,” Armstrong said. “We put a lot into the game but, unfortunately, we got nothing out of it.
“I think we all saw it [the sending-off] as a bit harsh. The two yellows are not merited but it was what it was. We just had to get on with it.
“We still created chances and probably should have tucked one away but, of course, the sending-off changed the game and we were on the back foot from there.”
Van Dijk’s red card was not the only decision to go against Celtic on the night, with Armstrong tumbling under a challenge from Davide Santon – on loan from Newcastle United – only for the referee to wave away the visitors’ penalty appeals.
Asked if he was fouled, Armstrong said: “Of course, if there wasn’t [contact] I would have gone on and taken the shot. There’s no need to go down but I felt an arm on my shoulder and it put me off balance. It’s just the way it’s gone for us, unfortunately. There’s a lot of disappointed boys in there feeling hard done by, but it’s done now.”
Celtic will now turn their attention to the visit of second-placed Aberdeen on Sunday in a match which will go some way to deciding the destination of the Scottish Premiership title.
They face Dundee United in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals and Scottish League Cup final next month as the quest for a domestic treble continues.
With regards to Europe, however, it will be a case of what might have been had Van Dijk stayed the course.Reuse content