JAMES FORREST says that the Celtic players and staff will be offering no excuses after losing again in the Champions League, with the 2-0 defeat to Lazio sending them out of European competition for the season.

Two late goals from Ciro Immobile sealed the fate of the Scottish champions, who again competed well for the most part in the Stadio Olimpico, before being left with that familiar sinking feeling as more clinical opposition put them to the sword.

When asked if it was a case of the same old story for Celtic in Europe, Forrest said: “You’re pretty spot on to be honest.

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“Apart from the Madrid game away, we’ve been in all the games until the end really, so it’s quite annoying.

“I don’t think anyone is going to make any excuses, we’ve maybe not just had that little bit to get the results at the end.

“I don’t think we are miles off it. It’s a hard one to take when you’ve had four games in the group where you feel as though you could have got something in the game. That’s obviously a positive, but it’s frustrating as well.

“The way we started the first half was good. They didn’t have many chances, although I don’t think we did either.

“Maybe in Europe away from home that is what you need to do, and then maybe that last bit, they’ve obviously had the quality to bring on off the bench and score a couple of goals.

“It is a learning curve, and we have one more group game to try and go out with a wee bit of positivity.”

This latest defeat means that Celtic become the first British club to go 15 consecutive group stage matches without a win, but that was the least of Forrest’s concerns on a night where the depth of Brendan Rodgers’ squad was tested, and came up short once more.

“That’s part and parcel of it whether you play in Europe or domestically,” he said.

“There is always going to be positives and people will give you good statistics, and then when you lose games you are going to get the other ones as well.

“You just need to take that, and that’s not just a reflection on the boys here, those records are from the past as well.

“But this group still have a chance to get that last bit of positivity in the last game [against Feyenoord].

“Last year in the Champions League we were there in some games, and even in this campaign as well.

“It’s a hard one to say, it’s maybe just that clinical edge. It’s really hard to say to be honest.”

Rodgers also appears to be at something of a loss to explain to his players why they are consistently finding these matches so hard to negotiate. When asked what he had told his men after the game, Forrest said: “Basically just the same.

"We’ve maybe been in three or four games in the group to the latter stages, and just that bit of strength at the end to get a draw or nick something, we’ve not been quite there.

“He’s wanting us to go out in the last game at home and trying to get three points in that game.”

Forrest had happier memories of playing in this stadium in 2019, when his goal helped Celtic to a famous win over Lazio in the Europa League. While he my not have been able to recreate that history here, he was still thrilled to be involved in such an encounter.

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“That was a great occasion the last time here, but it was obviously a bit gutting we didn’t get a good result here,” he said.

“On a personal level though, it’s always good to be involved in these games.

“It was class. I’m getting older. There are so many wingers in the squad, but a few of them are out.

“I’ve enjoyed my full time here, but as you get older you appreciate the games more and I really enjoyed playing in the Champions League.

“I just want to keep working hard and help the team whenever I can.

“I think I’ve come off the bench and done quite well in training, and the manager has maybe seen that.

“In games you come on you need to make an impact, the squad is that big you need to do that to stay in the manager’s plans.”

After a decent personal display in Rome, Forrest is hoping he can retain his place as thoughts now turn to a visit to face St Johnstone.

“We need to get back to domestic football now, and it will be a difficult game,” he said.

“We need to make sure we put this away and get our minds back on the domestic front.

“I’ve scored a couple of goals up there under the manager as well, so it would be good to help the team again at the weekend and get the three points.”