Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson claims he would rather have suffered a Betfred Cup final thrashing by Celtic than lose with the help of a controversial penalty.
There was little between the teams until Parkhead winger James Forrest curled in the opener in the 49th minute but the turning point came just before the hour mark when referee Craig Thomson judged Cedric Kipre to have fouled Celtic winger Scott Sinclair inside the box.
It looked like contact was minimal and Sinclair had gone to ground too willingly but the Well defender was shown a red card before Moussa Dembele hammered in the spot-kick to seal a 2-0 win at Hampden Park.
Robinson could not contain his frustration afterwards.
“First and foremost I am extremely proud of the players,” said the Northern Irishman.
“Congratulations to Celtic, they are a top football team, we all acknowledge that.
“But it is hard to take in that manner. I would rather have been pumped six or seven nothing by them but the game was over with that decision.
“The game was over as a contest once that decision was made.
“There is no contact and with the red card the game is effectively over. It completely changes the game.
“Craig Gordon made an unbelievable save from Louis Moult just before that and Kieran Tierney catches Louis going into the box when he was ready to finish – no penalty. It is a stonewall penalty.
“Cedric was crying, he is 20 years of age, he hasn’t touched him but I am not one of these managers who criticises other people’s players. I will keep my dignity.
“But it is hard for the boy to take. He has been sent off in his first cup final.
“But we will pick ourselves up. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, unsurprisingly, thought the penalty decision was correct.
He said: “It is a penalty. It is a great ball and Scott makes the run and is getting there and obviously the defender cannot get there so he pulls him. So it is a penalty.
“I am not sure what the rules are, whether it is a sending-off, I am sure Stephen will feel it is a bit harsh.
“But I definitely thought it was a penalty as he impeded Scotty in the box and Moussa scores it.
“It was a great victory for us.”
Celtic extended their unbeaten domestic run to 65 matches and Rodgers became the first Celtic manager since Jock Stein in the late 1960s to capture four trophies in succession.
The Northern Irishman said the success was for the whole club.
He added: “Of course it is a very special thing to have happened.
“Today is a trophy for everyone at the club. You see the support, three-quarters of the stadium supporting the team, the backroom staff and the players, so it is for the club.
“Of course, I get associated with that but for me it is thinking about Wednesday (a league game against Motherwell).”