Joe Ledley today picked over the carcass of another European defeat and cursed the fact that, once again, an early lapse left them with a mountain to climb.
The Welshman was helpless to stop Radamel Falcao heading home a second-minute goal – his first since his £35million move from Europa League holders Porto – to set Atletico Madrid on course for a 2-0 victory in their opening Group I tie.
After conceding in the first minute in Sion in their last European trip, and suffering similar mishaps in Braga and Utrecht last season, it is a trend which is as damaging as it is repetitious.
Ledley accepts that, against top-quality opposition such as Atletico and the other two teams they will meet in the Group Stage, Udinese and Rennes, they simply cannot afford to start so poorly.
But it's what happened after that goal went in which has convinced him they are more than capable of having a real go at qualifying for the knock- out rounds, despite already trailing in the group.
He was buoyed by the chances carved out, including a very early one for Gary Hooper and a shot on the turn from himself after a corner which went just over the crossbar.
Ledley said: "It's definitely about taking your chances at this level. Especially against a team like Atletico Madrid, you are not going to get many opportunities to score.
"But that was game one in a six-game group and now we have to look ahead to playing Udinese in Glasgow later this month.
"We are disappointed to have lost our opening game because we put in a good performance. But now we need to win our next game and take some points. We want to qualify. We know it is going to be difficult, but I think we proved last night we have a chance."
Ledley still rues the fact that not only was it an early goal which put them in a chasing position in the difficult conditions, but that it came from a corner.
Even with a re-jigged defence, he believes it could, and should, have been dealt with much better.
"It was disappointing to start the game that way," Ledley reflected. "But after they scored we grouped well as a team and tried to get at them.
"Especially in the second half, I thought we played some good football. The manager had asked us not to shoot ourselves in the foot early on, as we had done in Sion. And we are not happy that this time it came from a set-play as well. But we had a chance imme- diately after that when Gary Hooper and Beram Kayal linked up.
"Maybe on another day that would have gone in. On the whole, I think we were happy with our performance against a world-class Atletico team."
The fact it was danger man Falcao who was given time and space to head home the opening goal only adds to the frustration and disappointment felt by everyone at Celtic.
"He has got above us," explained Ledley, one of the men charged with defending 10 yards from the goal-line.
"I had No.4 (Mario Suarez), and I think Falcao has just gone above him as well. So he was on his own. I have not seen the goal again on TV, but I think he has popped up above me and Glenn [Loovens]. He has gone behind us. He is quite far out."
Not far enough out to allow Fraser Forster or the defenders on the line to clear. But Ledley was impressed by the way Celtic fought back and said: "Even after they got their second goal, we still played good football."
Ledley then said Rangers will be in for disappointment if they expect a travel-weary Celtic to turn up at Ibrox on Sunday.
Neil Lennon's men arrived back in Glasgow this afternoon after staying overnight after the game, rather than come back in the early hours, and the Welsh ace says they will be raring to go in the first Old Firm clash of the season.
"Despite the warm conditions, I felt good during the game, and after it I still feel okay," reported the hard- running Ledley.
"It is going to hit us more today and tomorrow. But we will not be doing much, other than recovering before we get to prepare for the derby.
"We will just have to look after ourselves and make sure we are ready for it."
TIMES TALKER: Who should play up front at Ibrox?
HOOPER AND SAMI says MATTHEW LINDSAY
Who should play up front for Celtic in the first Old Firm game of the season depends on the fitness of key players.
If Anthony Stokes is okay, then I would pair him with Gary Hooper.
The duo have struck up a good understanding in their time at Parkhead, but have not been given a fair crack in the Glasgow derby match.
It would be interesting to see how Rangers cope against Hooper and Stokes. If, however, Stokes fails to make it, then Georgios Samaras should be given the nod.
Yes, he is the most frustrating player in Scottish football. And, yes, he arguably cost his club the title last season with a poor performance against the Gers.
But the big Greek is also, on his day, a real handful and showed in January, when he scored both goals in a 2-0 win, that he can be a man for the big occasion.
Mo Bangura could be used as an impact player.
GAZ AND MO says BERT MITCHELL
Celtic's strike force will be dependent upon Neil Lennon's formation.
Will the Hoops boss reprise the system which had Gary Hooper up top as a lone striker at Atletico Madrid, or does he revert to two in attack.
Gary Hooper is a certainty, but the injury concerns persisting over Anthony Stokes could make the former Hibee a doubt.
So if Lennon does go with a double-pronged attack, who partners Hooper? The answer to that is certainly not the brooding Greek, Georgios Samaras.
He may well have won a new two-year deal on the back of an outstanding display at Ibrox, but what has he done since?
On Sunday, Lennon can afford no passengers and, for large parts of any game, that is exactly what the Greek is.
So why not back the £2.2million lavished on the Sierra Leone striker Mo Bangura? Presumably he was bought to win games of this magnitude.