Scotland captain Al Kellock says he is "heartbroken" to have returned home following their Rugby World Cup exit.
The Scots failed to qualify beyond the group stages for the first time after defeats by Argentina and England.
Kellock says the losses are more frustrating because his team did enough to win those games.
"We did everything right for 75 minutes in both games, but Argentina and England were very clinical when they had their chances," he told the BBC.
The Scots arrived back in the UK after Andy Robinson's side failed to score a try in three of their four matches in New Zealand.
"It's gutting. We've worked hard for numerous months. We gave it absolutely everything, so to come up short is heart-wrenching," Kellock said.
"It was always going to be a very tight group. We knew it would be small margins.
"But we had the ability to win both of those games and if things had been different we would still be over there preparing for a quarter final."
And the skipper accepts it is an area Scotland have to work on before next year's Six Nations campaign.
"Scoring tries is obviously important, but it was only one try in each of those games, and we were centimetres away from scoring against England," he added.
"But we know it is an issue, we know we need to get seven points instead of three. But if you asked me if we had kicked six penalties and were still there I'd be delighted."
Scotland's next competitive fixture will be against England at Murrayfield in February's Six Nations opener and Kellock is confident lessons will be learned from their World Cup disappointment.
"We've got to learn from the fact we've not gone through," he added. "We've got to get better. I believe we are a better team than we were at the Six Nations, but we're still not good enough.
"We've put ourselves in a position where we are competing with the best teams in the world, but we're not winning. So we've got to make that next step and get the right results."
Former Scotland international and British Lion Peter Wright said he was disappointed at the side's early exit but believed Robinson remained the right man for the job.
"Obviously, the minimum we should've expected was to get to the quarter-finals. It was a tough group, there's no doubt about that. The team will be absolutely devastated; it was so close yet so far," he said.
"That's still quite a young side and the majority of the guys will be around for the next World Cup and I think Andy's the man to take us there.
"What he's done and got out of the players in the past two or three years has been good and I don't see any reason to change it. If he wants to stay, let's keep him."