ACCORDING to Henry Russell Sanders, the legendary American football college coach, winning wasn’t everything, it was the only thing.

Yet, for Brendan Rodgers, the Celtic manager whose team have triumphed in substantially more matches than they have lost since he arrived in Glasgow two-and-a-half years ago now, having humility in victory is every bit as important as the final outcome.

So the acrimonious fallout to the Betfred Cup final triumph over Aberdeen at Hampden – the seventh consecutive domestic trophy his charges have lifted in Scotland – on Sunday has not sat easily with the Northern Irishman.

Derek McInnes, the Pittodrie manager, and Graeme Shinnie, his captain, have both been far from complimentary about the conduct of his players, specifically Scott Brown and Mikael Lustig, since an often bad-tempered game ended.

He disagrees with the accusations that have been flung in Celtic’s direction vehemently. As he looked ahead to the Ladbrokes Premiership match with Motherwell at Fir Park this evening at Lennoxtown yesterday, he emphasised that treating opponents with respect was a prerequisite of being a player at Parkhead.

“It is one of the values that we set when I first arrived,” he said. “In our organisation you need to have values in how you work because they provide the signposts for your daily life. Respect is the very first one.

“I can understand the raw emotion of it all. They have lost their third cup final to us. That emotion is in the game. Players and managers are not robots. There is emotion very much there sometimes especially after a game like that where you have prepared so much.

“Especially Graeme who is probably wanting to emulate some of the captains who have gone before at Aberdeen. So when you lose it is a tough one to take.

“But it doesn’t detract. For me it’s not a concern. We’ve won a seventh trophy in a row and that’s an incredible achievement and one we are proud to have done and can reflect on.”

Rodgers acknowledges that Brown, who is returning from injury and only came on as a substitute against Aberdeen at the weekend, is a ferocious competitor when he steps on the park. But he is adamant his captain, whose relations with his opposite number are famously frosty, doesn’t overstep the mark.

“In the game Browny, like a lot of players, becomes a different character when he goes on the field,” he said. “There is a lot of small talk that you never hear of. It is on the field it happens. But if he played and worked with him then I am sure that Graeme would see him as one of the best professionals that he has come across.”

Rodgers also defended Lustig and implied that McInnes had to accept the player’s reaction at the final whistle – he celebrated vocally in front of the Aberdeen technical area - after exchanging words with the right back during the second-half.

“I didn’t really see that (McInnes confronting Lustig at the end of the game),” he said. “I was shaking one or two of the Aberdeen players’ hands. Like players, managers can be emotional as well. But it’s something I have no concern about.”

Rodgers revealed that he has held discussions with Lustig, the Swedish internationalist who is out of contract in the summer, about extending his stay in Scotland beyond the end of the season and will hold further talks early next year.

“We’ve spoken and we will look at that after January once the window shuts,” he said. “I’ve said to him he’s an important player in our squad and knows what our plans are going forward. We’ll discuss that at another time.

“I think he does like it here, but he’s concentrating on what he’s doing now. He’s been here seven years and the one thing we’ll offer him is the respect because he’s been and is a great servant. But he’s also aware that the club has to prepare for a time after Mika.”

Rodgers confirmed that Dedryck Boyata, who limped off with a hamstring strain against Aberdeen, will miss the Motherwell game and the crucial Europa League group game against Salzburg at Celtic Park a week tomorrow. “Hopefully before the end of the month he’ll be back,” he said.

He is hoping that Jozo Simunovic, who replaced him at Hampden, can strike up a decent partnership with Filip Benkovic, who he knows from his time at Dinamo Zagreb, in Boyata’s absence.

“When Jozo left Zagreb Filip took over his place,” he said. “They both know each other well and when you have that communication and have that synergy you hope it bonds together well. We’ll see.”