McCall admits Motherwell shortcomings in final defeat

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall
McCall reached a cup final in his first six months in charge of Motherwell

Stuart McCall admitted his Motherwell side had not been at their best in their Scottish Cup final loss to Celtic but felt luck also went against them.

"We knew we had to be at our best and a few of us weren't at their best but we couldn't ask for anymore in desire, drive and determination," said McCall.

"There's no doubt Celtic were the better side.

"But the couple of bits of luck, if they had gone for us, could've changed the game."

Motherwell fell behind to Ki Sung-Yeung's terrific strike but came close to levelling straight away when Gavin Gunning's 35-yard drive clattered off the crossbar.

Celtic doubled their lead when Mark Wilson's shot deflected off Motherwell captain Stephen Craigan and over the goalline before Charlie Mulgrew's late free-kick completed victory for Neil Lennon's men.

"They've had one long-range shot from Ki which has screamed in, we've had one long-range shot which has hit the underside of the bar and come out," said McCall.

"After they scored, we raised our game. We started playing like we can do.

"With 15 minutes to go we were 1-0 down and were still in it and then it was the cruelest of cruel deflections."

Daniel Majstorovic, who had previously been booked, handled to give Motherwell a free-kick but the Celtic defender escaped a second yellow card that would have resulted in a first-half dismissal.

But McCall played down the significance of the incident.

"I've got to be honest, I don't think it was a deliberate one," McCall said. "I don't know what he did but I think he was unfortunate. It hit his hand, there's no doubt about it. I thought it was a free-kick and that was it. I think it was totally unintentional.

"The conditions made it difficult for the referee, there were a lot of tackles flying in and there were a couple of other decisions that could've gone either way."

McCall, who took over from Craig Brown in December, will now start preparations for his first full season in charge.

"It's going to be hard to top; getting to a League Cup semi-final, a Scottish Cup final and into the top six (of the Scottish Premier League)," added McCall.

"The fans were outstanding today. They stayed with us and the support they gave the team lifted everybody and we're all proud of the backing we had and we're just disappointed that we just didn't produce our best."