RYAN BOWMAN has lifted the lid on the angry backlash he received after breaking Fabio Cardoso's nose.

The Motherwell forward was described as ‘distraught’ by manager Stephen Robinson after being targeted on social media as well as being criticised by former Ibrox manager Pedro Caixinha for the collision with the Rangers defender in last Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final.

The pair clashed when jumping for a header during the second half of Motherwell’s 2-0 victory as Bowman’s elbow crashed off the face of Cardoso, leaving the Portuguese going off covered in blood.

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Evening Times: Rangers defender Fabio Cardoso picked up a broken nose following a challenge with Motherwell's Ryan Bowman during the Betfred Cup Semi Final at Hampden Park.

In the aftermath of the incident, Bowman was on the end of a barrage of abuse online, with Caixinha claiming he wasn’t playing football while even Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers waded in.

However, speaking exclusively to SportTimes, the 25-year-old, who was not cited by the SFA’s compliance officer for the incident, has revealed what it’s been like being a target of the Rangers boo boys.

“When you go on Twitter and social media you can’t really get away from it,” said Bowman.

“It’s mostly Rangers fans saying I should have been sent off, thug this, thug that, I shouldn’t be playing football, that I don’t play football.

“I’ve watched the clips over and over again. You can see my intent was to win the ball and I was just using my arm as leverage. I’ve ended up catching with my elbow in the nose but I definitely didn’t mean to hurt him.

“It’s just how most strikers jump. I’m not a malicious player. You can tell with my bookings this season and through the last five or six in my career. I’ve got hardly any. I’m not that type of player at all. I just have to try and get on with it and forget about all those comments.”

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Bowman, who has been booked three times in 48 games for Motherwell, also admitted his unwanted attention had reached his girlfriend Louise as the trolls took hold

He said: “Yeah a little bit. My girlfriend is on Twitter and has read all the comments and that’s not nice for her to see it.

“That’s fans though, they are annoyed that little old Motherwell are in a final of the cup after beating Rangers in a semi-final. They probably think it should be Celtic and Rangers.

“But obviously when one of their players breaks their nose they are going to come for us. I just need to forget about it.

“I didn’t see him. He just went straight in. He put the picture on Twitter and it doesn’t look the best. But we’ve not spoken.”

On Tuesday Celtic boss got involved in the debate. Last season Kieran Tierney was on the end of a reckless challenge from Bowman, and it was clear the memory of it hadn’t left Rodgers’ mind when he said: “The centre-half came off the pitch on Sunday? Christ, if he’d been shot, he wouldn’t have looked worse.

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“I can see why Pedro would have been annoyed — absolutely. You are endangering players’ lives and careers with some of the challenges we saw.

“It was the same player who tackled Kieran last season and it went unpunished.”

But replying to those comments, Bowman said: “As much as I respect Brendan Rodgers for what he’s done, I don’t see why he’s had to come out and say that.

“Fair enough of it’s his team but it’s not. But that’s up to him, he’s allowed his own opinion.”

While the controversy of the incident will eventually die down, Bowman is beginning to look forward to a momentous day at Hampden next month when he takes on Celtic in the Betfred Cup final.

It is a long way for the former non-league player who as a Hereford player regularly found himself plying his trade in front of a couple of hundred people. Now, he is dreaming of being the cup final hero in claret and amber.

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“It’s the biggest game ever for me,” he said of the semi-final. “I’d been in the squad for some game at Wembley for a couple of old clubs but I didn’t actually play. Last week was the best feeling and atmosphere I’ve ever experienced.

“The worst game I’ve ever played in was on a Friday night for Hereford against Barrow away. It was windy and rainy and on a Friday night it was one of the worst I’ve ever experienced. We won 2-0, but it was a bit different to Hampden! There was hardly anyone there either.

“The game next month will be massive for me. All my family will be there and I can’t wait.”