Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter has hailed his side for their effort, despite falling to a 9-0 aggregate defeat at the hands of Bulgarian side Ludogorets in the Champions League qualifying first round.
The Crues endured a 7-0 hammering when they travelled for the opening away leg, but followed it up by holding their opponents to just two goals in their 2-0 defeat at Seaview on Tuesday night.
“When you play a team of this calibre, we expected to get another tanking,” a forthright Baxter admitted to UTV.
“The performance, each to a man, was sensational.”
Pleased with the positives he could take away from the steep learning curve of the experience, he added: “We may have lost 2-0, but it feels like a moral victory.”
Crusaders, the reigning Irish League champions, now exit the Champions league and enter the second qualifying round of the Europa League.