STEPHEN Robinson has received inspiration, encouragement and invaluable practical advice during his coaching career from the man who he will walk out of the tunnel alongside at Hampden today.

He will, though, have no qualms about using the assistance given to him by his countryman Brendan Rodgers when he was starting out as a manager to help Motherwell defeat Celtic in the Betfred Cup final this afternoon.

Robinson this week recounted how Rodgers had taken time to speak to both him and his contemporary David Healy during his time in charge at Liverpool as he prepared for the final.

“He brought David and I in and literally closed the doors of his office,” he said. “He gave us three hours. We asked questions, he asked questions. He answered in great detail. It was great. For him to take so much time to speak to us was fantastic.

“I was looking after the Northern Ireland Under-21 side at that stage. He showed a real humility and interest in Northern Irish football and the development of it. He asked a lot about us actually. He was as interested in us as we were in what he was trying to do.

“We tried to take things from the conversation. You take things from everybody. I don’t think there was anything specific on the day where I said to myself: ‘I’ll do that’. But he gave us a very good insight into man management, how he handled bigger players and how he dealt with disappointment at the same time which is probably the most important thing as a manager.

“He was a very humble guy who gave us more time than we imagined he would as he was a very busy man at that stage at Liverpool. I am not sure how results were at that stage. But he was very much into us as much as we were trying to absorb information from him. It was a great insight into a manager at the top level.

“We have had a lot of coaches who have come out of Northern Ireland recently who have been a real inspiration to young coaches from that part of the world. I have been lucky enough to work with Michael O’Neill and I think he and Brendan are very similar. They are both meticulous. Of course it gives you inspiration.”

Robinson didn’t divulge whether Rodgers had offered any tips on how to keep players focused ahead of a big game. But the way Motherwell have prepared for this game against Celtic suggested he may have. He has endeavoured to keep the build-up to the final as relaxed as possible and is hopeful they can produce a huge upset as a result.

“We have tried to treat it as normal,” he said. “The boys have played it down. We don’t want the suits. We have trained our normal days. The intensity has been really high. It is not like people are saving themselves.

“It’s huge. I make no bones about it, it’s a great occasion. The fans have waited a long time for a bit of success. To take them to Hampden and get a result would be amazing for us.”