STEPHEN Robinson last night claimed that referee Craig Thomson had killed off Motherwell’s hopes of beating Celtic in the Betfred Cup final with his controversial penalty and red card decisions.

Robinson was incensed that Thomson ruled Cedric Kipre had brought down Scott Sinclair inside his own area in the second half of the match at Hampden yesterday and then sent the defender off.

Moussa Dembele, whose side was leading 1-0 at the time of the incident thanks to a James Forrest strike, converted the spot kick to effectively ensure that Brendan Rodgers’s side retained their trophy.

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Robinson also felt that his side should have been awarded a spot kick shortly before that when Louis Moult was clipped by Kieran Tierney as he advanced on goal.

“The game is over with that decision,” he said. "For me, there is no contact, but once that decision is made, the game is over as a contest. There is no contact. And a red card? The game is over then.

“It completely changes the game. Louis has had an unbelievable save from Craig Gordon just before that. Then Tierney catches Louis as he goes into the box, ready to finish - no penalty. Then there’s that decision that clearly changes the game.

“Congratulations to Celtic, they are a top, top football team and we all acknowledge that. But it’s hard to take in that manner. I’d rather have been pumped six or seven-nil than have the game affected by that decision. But nobody can argue about that. The game’s over because they are hard enough to play against when they have 11 men.”

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Robinson, who revealed that Kipre had been reduced to tears by the decision, but refused to accuse Sinclair of diving. “The kid’s crying,” he said. “He’s 20 years of age. He hasn’t touched him. He hasn’t had a finger on him.

“I’m not one of those managers who comes and criticises other people’s players. I’ll keep my dignity. He hasn’t touched him so it’s hard for the boy to take. He’s been sent off in his first ever cup final. But we’ll deal with it. We are not a team that lies down. As you can see, we went toe to toe with them in the first half.

“I don’t know who’s at fault. In my opinion there’s no contact. All I know is the decision changes the game. It doesn’t matter who we look to blame. I have to look at what we can do better. We can keep possession of the ball better and we gave the first goal away when we should have got tighter. But it’s difficult to take.”

Robinson added: “We responded to losing that first goal. As I said, Craig made an unbelievable save from Louis. Either side of him and it’s a goal but it’s an incredible save, so credit where it’s due.

“We were right in the game and then look at the penalty incident on Louis Moult. Tierney clips him and for me it’s a stonewall penalty. Listen, it wasn’t to be. I won’t vilify other teams. All I’ll do is give Celtic huge credit for the talent that they have and the job Brendan’s done.”