EDINBURGH head coach Richard Cockerill says he has absolutely no complaints about the late penalty which resulted in his team’s gut-wrenching PRO14 play-off defeat to Ulster last night, and has vowed that he and the players will shoulder full responsibility for the result.

“I’ve no complaints about Mike Willemse’s [late] penalty – none at all,” he said. “I am disappointed that when we are 19-7 up we don’t control the game like we can control the game. Credit to them but that was all of our own making. We should have made better decisions and we should have executed better and it just wasn’t good enough from us.

“I think we lost the penalty count 14-9, plus we didn’t exit properly, we kicked poorly and gave them opportunities to carry back at us, and we were ill-disciplined at the tackle by not rolling away.

“We invited them into our own half and we got what we deserved and they got what they deserved. We can solve all those things. In these games it is the little things that make the difference and some of our players clearly don’t understand what that looks like.”

Edinburgh have now lost all four knock-out matches they have played since Cockerill’s arrival at the club in the summer of 2017.

“We’ve got international players who will go and play Test matches for Scotland and they need to know better.

“We’ve had enough opportunities to learn and tonight we had to deliver, and we didn’t. It’s not good enough.

“They are good players and they played really good rugby to get into a winning position, but we have to stay engaged the whole time. We score then we don’t collect the kick-off and we end up getting penalised, and they score from the line-out. We need to have a good hard look at ourselves because it is a continual problem.

“We just don’t need to be forcing a game that doesn’t need to be chased. Chris Dean spoons the ball down the field and they end up scoring from the next play. We have to make good decisions there – let’s have a scrum because we were on top in that area. That’s just an example and there was lots of examples of poor decision-making.”

Edinburgh’s PRO14 adventure is now over but they can still salvage something from the season. However, it is not going to be easy in the European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Bordeaux-Begles.

“That’s no consolation because we should be taking the opportunity here,” Cockerill said. “I’m not going to make an excuse for myself because it is my fault, it starts with me, and the players are going to be held accountable next week.

“We’re not going to change 45 players, they’ll only change the coach, we just have to dust ourselves off – we’ve got a couple of weeks prep to go to Bordeaux so we just need to get better with the players we’ve got.

“We’ll have a few days off and then come back in the middle of next week.”

Meanwhile, opposite number Dan McFarland praised match-winner Ian Madigan who came off the bench in the final minutes and slotted the decisive long-range penalty.

“That was big time, he is a big-time player,” said the former Scotland assistant coach. “We had plenty of opportunities to create pressure in the first half but it didn’t quite work, but we made some adjustments and it paid off.

“Nobody is going to give us a chance against Leinster, but we’ll prepare properly, we’ll have a game plan we think can work and we’ll go and give it our best shot.”