Dundalk manager Vinny Perth shouldered the blame for their Champions League qualifier exit at the hands of Celje.
A string of defensive errors cost the SSE Airtricity Premier Division champions dear in Hungary as they were beaten 3-0.
"Really really hard to take," Perth said after the game, "The scoreline is an awful reflection. It's not a true reflection, but that doesn't matter."
Dundalk deserved at least parity heading into the break, but two-minutes before they were to head for the dressing room disaster struck.
A moment of miscommunication from Brian Gartland and goalkeeper Gary Rogers allowed Luka Kerin to nick the ball home and give the Slovenian champions the lead.
Dundalk would go on to boss the ball in the second half, and will count themselves unlucky not to have found an equaliser seven-minutes from time.
A Michael Duffy free-kick deflected off the wall, with the quick-thinking Pat Hoban getting his head to the ball only to hit the post.
That miss would gain further poignance as the game edged towards full-time.
Another defensive lapse allowed Dario Vizinger in to make it 2-0, with Vizinger's injury-time replacement Filip Dangubic adding a third.
"That result is at my door, and not the players," Perth said, "A very difficult position with them tonight, but they were brilliant - full credit goes to them."
Perth added, "I feel I set the team up right. I feel we understood exactly who we were playing against. I feel all of that stuff.
"I wouldn't change anything, so therefore I've got to look in the mirror because there's not a lot I would change in that.
"I would have changed the last couple of weeks, obviously, the build-up to it.
"Not a lot you'd change in that. If Pat scores, we probably go on and win the game."
🗣 “It’s a really, really hard result to take. The players were outstanding, really brilliant. We’ve conceded some goals in Europe that you get punished for at the highest level and the lads were punished tonight.”
🎙 A disappointed Vinny Perth reacts to our loss in Budapest. pic.twitter.com/XhPwUfBAWE
— DundalkFC (@DundalkFC) August 19, 2020
Despite the defensive flubs, Perth refused to single anyone out for criticism.
Instead he sounded a resigned tone as he said, "Just immense men there, what they've done for this town over the last 8-years, I've been very proud of them.
"Very proud of my association with them. C'est la vie, it's s disappointing night, we've got to take it on the chin."
Dundalk's blow is softened by a place in the second qualifying round of the Europa League.
Defeat means the Lilywhites have won just once in their last five outings, and that was a 1-0 win at home to Waterford in the FAI Cup.
"There's not a lot broken in this team, it doesn't need a lot to fix it," Perth said.
"The club and the town need to stick with that group of players. And yes, it needs a little bit of fixing, but not a lot.
"I really feel that the town's in a really strong position."
Perth added that he felt like he'd built a squad to compete in Europe, but ultimately it's fallen flat.