It’s not goodbye from Motherwell, just bonjour.

The sense of injustice will long flicker in the hearts of the Fir Park players who believe they were wronged in Sunday’s Betfred Cup final. The decision from Craig Thomson to send off Frenchman Cedric Kipre and award Celtic a crucial penalty as Scott Sinclair went to the deck leaving the most bitter of tastes in the mouth for those from Lanarkshire dreaming of a first cup win in 26 years.

For all the disappointment though that left the Motherwell players sprawled on the turf at full-time, Ryan Bowman has vowed the 2-0 defeat will not signal the end of their resurgence under Stephen Robinson. Indeed, the striker insists it’s just the start.

“It is important to take things on. 100 per cent,” said Bowman. “You can feel sorry for yourselves and let the season drift away, but we are better than that.

“As the manager says, as hard as it may be, we have to dust ourselves down, pick ourselves up as quickly as possible as we have a game just as big as Hampden on Wednesday night.

“It’s been a totally different season. From a relegation battle to the top six. But we have to push on. Like I said, we can’t just drift off. We have to keep going and going. As players, we know what we are trying to do. Everyone knows their jobs and what we are trying to do.

“There is a great team spirit in the changing room at the moment.”

Just over five months ago Motherwell’s outlook was far from taking 13,000 fans to a cup final. Around half that amount were in Fir Park back in May to watch their team beat Kilmarnock in the penultimate game of last season to secure their top-flight safety.

Now with a cup final behind them, Motherwell are well-placed to already build on the comfortable top-six place they currently occupy.

“First and foremost, it’s about staying well away from relegation,” added Bowman, who will likely line up for Motherwell when Celtic come to Fir Park tomorrow night. “We don’t want another season like the last one.

“Then, instead of looking behind us, we want to be looking forward as much as we can. We have to take each game as it comes and see where we end up.

“We don’t want to feel sorry for ourselves and let things affect us in the league. We have been fantastic so far and we need to go again.”

While Bowman attempted to put a positive spin on things after Sunday’s 2-0 loss, it was a bridge too far for Motherwell captain Carl McHugh. It’s not an exaggeration to say the Irishman looked close to tears when he tried to some up his feelings. Indeed, the words didn’t come easy for the man who had previously lost an English League Cup final with Bradford City to Swansea back in 2013.

When asked if it was the hardest blow he’d experienced in his career, the 24-year-old said: “Yeah it probably is. The manner of it. You saw in the first half we had a plan and it was going well, we were right in the game. Even going a goal down we reacted to it and [Louis] Moulty had his chance and we felt we were right in it.

“At the minute [knowing we did all we could] is no consolation and in a way it makes it worse.

“We had our plan and we felt it was going according to it. We felt we needed to be that wee bit better and even when we went 1-0 down I still felt we were right in it. It’s so hard it’s a decision like that [the penalty on Sinclair] which has ultimately cost us it.

“It’s so disappointing I can’t really… he’s made the decision. I don’t know with support or whatever but we didn’t get the penalty we should have. That’s the story of the game in the final moments of the game. It’s hard to take.”

Midfielder Chris Cadden added: “If they had outplayed us and beat us 3-0 then you’d hold your hands up and say what a good team they were.

“But we matched them in that first half. After they scored their first I felt we were coming more into it but then we lose Cedric and it’s hard enough playing any Premiership team with 10 men, never mind Celtic.

“They’ve now gone 65 games unbeaten and they’re bringing on people like Leigh Griffiths, Patrick Roberts and Tom Rogic. I didn’t have a good view of our penalty claim but I’ve seen theirs again and it’s soft.”