DORUS De Vries insisted he had no chance with Zenit St Petersburg’s “nightmare” killer second goal.

The Celtic goalkeeper was beaten by what he called a “knuckle ball” when Daler Kuzyayev’s shot from distance put the Russians ahead for the first time in the Europa League tie.

And once the game went to 2-0, Celtic never looked like getting 
back into it.

Read more: Zenit 3, Celtic 0: Scots crash out of Europa as same old mistakes blight European campaign

De Vries said: “I don’t know if you are familiar with the term ‘knuckle ball’. Search for it online and you can see what happens with the flight of the ball. Unfortunately, it’s so difficult for a goalkeeper.

“There is no spin on the ball, it just moves a little bit to the right and so initially I moved to the right, and then it moves left at the last moment, and with that pace on the ball you can only hope to get a good hand to it, but it was so quick and it makes it so hard.

“I knew this could happen because they have a few players who can hit the ball like that. 

“It is difficult. If the ball keeps its flight or keeps going right, then it’s fine because you are already moving that way. But if the ball moves after you step right, and it goes across you, then it’s a nightmare.

Read more: 'Courage and belief' missing as Celtic crash out of Europa League

“I am gutted, of course. It was so disappointing, especially when you think about how well we played in the first leg. We created loads of chances, didn’t concede many chances, and a 1-0 win gave us a really good chance to progress but unfortunately that didn’t happen.

“There are so many things. The early goal gave them a boost, but we were still in it. We knew that an away goal would have done for us. Then we go 2-0 down, and still in the tie, but we just didn’t create any chances, not like we did last week.”

With a huge league match coming up on Sunday at Aberdeen, this is a testing time for Celtic.

Read more: Celtic v Zenit: How Brendan Rodgers' players rated​

De Vries, however, believes the team are improving and there are reasons to be positive.

He said: “These are learning moments. We are a young team and there is a lot of talent in there, they are hungry as well. We are knocked out but there is progress. This year we stepped up and were still in Europe after the Champions League.

“Yes, we are out, but there is progression there. We have to improve and keep going. We have to believe in ourselves. We have some big games coming up, we are still in the cup, so we look forward to these challenges.”