BRENDAN Rodgers last night defended referee Craig Thomson over his decision to award Celtic a penalty in the Betfred Cup final with Motherwell.

Rodgers’s opposite number Stephen Robinson was furious that Thomson gave a spot kick in the 58th minute of the match at Hampden yesterday after a Cedric Kipre challenge on Scott Sinclair.

The Northern Irishman was also unhappy the French defender was ordered off – effectively ending the Fir Park club’s hopes of winning the game against their Parkhead rivals.

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Read more: Stephen Robinson: Penalty and red card decisions ended Motherwell's hopes of beating Celtic - there was no contact​

However, the Celtic manager, whose side was leading 1-0 before the controversial incident after James Forrest became the first man since Bobby Lennox to score in three consecutive League Cup finals, felt the match official got the penalty call right.

“I looked at it and think it’s a penalty,” he said. “It’s a great ball and Scotty makes the run and is getting there. Obviously the defender cannot get there, so he impedes him. He pulls him. So I think it’s a penalty.

“I’m not sure what the rules are now, so I’m not sure it’s a sending-off. I’m sure Stephen will feel the sending-off is a bit harsh. But I definitely thought it was a penalty. He has impeded Scotty when he’s in the box and Moussa (Dembele) scores it.”

Rodgers added: “It’s a brilliant victory for us today. We had to tick a few character boxes after midweek (Celtic lost 7-1 to Paris Sant-Germain in a Champions League group game in Paris) and yet again the players produced.

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“It was always going to be difficult for us with the way Motherwell have started the season and the confidence with which they play. We were always going to have to be patient today and wait for our moments. Once we got the first goal, we then settled into a rhythm.

“It’s our fourth trophy in 12 months which is a phenomenal achievement really. Huge credit to the players because of their hunger and desire to keep playing. They have that belief. To keep a clean sheet was also important for us.”

Rodgers added: “Jamesy’s goal was a good move. We started to pass the ball and combine a lot better in the second half, in particular during that phase of the game.

“It was a wonderful piece of skill. It’s difficult for the defender who maybe thinks he’s going to go on the outside but James has that ability to come in on his left side and play it with the out-side of his foot or bend it in, which he did. It was a great finish.”

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Rodgers, who became the first Celtic manager to win his first four domestic trophies and the first to win four in a row since Jock Stein back in 1969, singled out Craig Gordon, who denied Motherwell striker Louis Moult at 1-0, for special praise afterwards.

“Craig didn’t have a lot to do today but that save was brilliant,” he said. “We can defend the cross better, but in real time in the game, it was a brilliant save because it was going to fast at him. It was great reactions. Those are saves that are important for you. From that, we kept going and got the second goal.”

The 44-year-old admitted he was proud to make history by winning four consecutive trophies. “I didn’t know that up until Saturday,” he said. “Someone mentioned it to me. Of course it’s a very special thing to have happen to you, when there have been so many great managers.

“But I think it is a trophy for everyone at the club. You saw the support today was absolutely amazing, three-quarters of the stadium really helping the team. The backroom staff, with the work that they put in, combined with the players, meant that today was a great reward for the club.”