Rangers manager Walter Smith hailed his players for showing the determination to overcome a controversial refereeing decision and edge an enthralling Old Firm final at Hampden yesterday.
Rangers secured the Co-operative Insurance League Cup with a 2-1 win over Celtic thanks to an extra-time winner from Nikica Jelavic.
An entertaining match sparkled from the start and Steven Davis put Rangers ahead in the 23rd minute before Joe Ledley headed an equaliser for Celtic on the half-hour mark.
But a major talking points was referee Craig Thomson’s decision to book Jelavic for diving seconds after pointing to the penalty spot when the Croatian went down under a challenge from Thomas Rogne.
Television pictures showed Rogne’s foot had just brushed the knee of Jelavic, who then went down emphatically after a slight delay.
Thomson rejected other penalty claims in both boxes, the first when Celtic full-back Mark Wilson fell under the close attention of Sasa Papac, before a second-half incident when the ball hit Wilson’s arm.
Rangers had lost three and drawn one of the four previous Old Firm games in 2011 and Smith said: “It was strange to find us in a position where we were more or less written off. It was a nice challenge for the players and they rose to it very well.
“None of the boys who have been here for a number of years need to prove anything to anybody. They have given everything and played exceptionally well.
“I don’t see any reason they have anything to prove, they just have to keep winning.
“I never use that as a motivation because the motivation has to come from within.”