Scotland boss Steve Clarke had no complaints that Croatia deserved to emerge victorious from their decisive Group D clash.
Goals from Nikola Vlasic, Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic negated Callum McGregor’s first-half equaliser and sent Scotland home from Euro 2020 at the group stage.
Modric was imperious throughout but Perisic remained a present danger to the Scots, who again passed up a number of chances to find the net.
It means their draw against England is their solitary point to take home with, as Clarke conceded his disappointment at exiting the tournament early.
He said: “Croatia were good on the night and deserved to win. We gave what we could and it wasn’t enough.
“We tried manfully to get a grip on it (the midfield). We had a spell just before and just after the goal where we looked like we might get something out the game. Overall Croatia were the better team on the night and sometimes you have to accept that.
“We kept going to the end and kept working. I’m disappointed the tournament has ended early for us but we’ve got a lot to be happy about. Unfortunately we’re not quite good enough to get out of the group stage.
“Hopefully the players will take the third-game experience. Croatia were more ready for it than we were – we possibly couldn’t hit the levels we did on Friday. There’s lots to learn, players and head coach included.”
Scotland’s performance levels did not match those at Wembley on Friday night, with Croatia’s quality in the end telling at Hampden.
It was Scotland’s first major tournament in 23 years, which started with a defeat on home soil against Czech Republic.
Clarke wants to see continued improvement and ensure this return to the big stage is not a one-off.
“We couldn’t get our passing going as well as we did last time. The times we did do it we looked a threat. It’s something we need to keep working on and hopefully we can do that sooner rather than later.
“I think when you look across the tournament we created enough chances. The players will get better at it. We can improve on it. We have to get better at everything.
“We’ve conceded a number of goals I felt were preventable. We have improved a lot in the two years I’ve been head coach. We have to keep improving and make sure it’s not quite so long before we qualify for the next tournament.”