Tuesday 22 May 2018

Motherwell cry foul after Rodgers matches Stein feat

Motherwell 0 Celtic 2

Celtic’s Scott Brown and team mates celebrate with the trophy after winning the Scottish League Cup Photo: Reuters
Celtic’s Scott Brown and team mates celebrate with the trophy after winning the Scottish League Cup Photo: Reuters

Jamie Holland

Furious Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson said he would rather have suffered a Scottish League Cup final thrashing by Celtic rather than losing in the manner his team did at Hampden Park, where a controversial penalty played a huge part in deciding the outcome.

There was little between the teams until 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 Scott Sinclair inside the box.

Motherwell's Cedric Kipre is shown a red card by referee Craig Thomson Photo: Reuters
Motherwell's Cedric Kipre is shown a red card by referee Craig Thomson Photo: Reuters

It looked like contact was minimal - at best - and that Sinclair had gone to ground too willingly but the referee pointed to the spot. And, to rub salt into Motherwell's wounds, Kipre was shown the red card before Moussa Dembele hammered in the spot-kick to seal victory for Celtic.

Robinson could not contain his frustration.

"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.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates with the trophy after winning the Betfred Cup Photo: PA
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates with the trophy after winning the Betfred Cup Photo: PA

"I would rather have been pumped six or seven nothing by them. 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 and he hasn't touched him but I am not one of these managers who criticises other people's players. I will keep my dignity."

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, but I am sure Stephen will feel it is a bit harsh."

Yesterday's victory enabled Celtic to extend their unbeaten domestic run to 65 matches as Rodgers became the first Celtic manager since Jock Stein in the late 1960s to capture four trophies in succession.

Irish Independent

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