Motherwell's dreams of Betfred Cup glory were extinguished by Celtic in a painful 2-0 defeat at Hampden Park on Sunday.
Yet the Steelmen competed extremely well in front of a packed national stadium, with the game effectively being decided on 57 minutes with Motherwell 1-0 down.
Motherwell cult hero Cedric Kipre was controversially sent off by referee Craig Thomson for a soft looking challenge on striker Scott Sinclair, with Thomson also awarding a penalty which Moussa Dembele scored.
Awarding a spot kick appeared harsh, with the sending off seeming ludicrous given the innocuous nature of Kipre's challenge.
There was a fantastic atmosphere at Hampden on Sunday, with both sets of fans singing the name of the late Phil O'Donnell in an emotional 10th minute tribute.
Kipre produced a meaty early challenge on his former Paris Saint Germain youth team-mate Dembele as the 10/1 underdogs got stuck into the Parkhead giants.
Dembele received the first booking of the contest for a foul on 'Well skipper McHugh, before rampaging Motherwell fullback Richard Tait shot just too high after a cross from the left by fellow defender Charles Dunne.
Celtic had plenty of first half possession but failed to significantly test Motherwell keeper Trevor Carson.
Mikael Lustig's 30th minute cross from the right was headed weakly at Carson by Dembele.
At the other end, Motherwell talisman Louis Moult struck a 30-yard free-kick that was comfortably stopped by Craig Gordon.
Tait's forays down the right were causing the Hoops problems and from another one of these the ball was cleared to Cadden who shot weakly wide.
A frantic start to the second half saw chances at both ends but it was Celtic who struck first on 49 minutes when James Forrest curled in a left footed effort after Callum McGregor's pass.
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson responded immediately by throwing on Craig Tanner for Liam Grimshaw and Tanner got involved straight away with a strong run before feeding the ball to Andy Rose whose left footed cross from the left preceded a strong Moult header being brilliantly saved by Gordon.
Play raged to the other end where Sinclair's effort was turned round the post by Carson.
Dembele then headed a McGregor cross wide before the game's defining moment on 57 minutes when Dembele scored from the spot.
The Hoops won a free-kick on the edge of 'Well's box on 73 minutes and substitute Leigh Griffiths' powerful effort was blocked by Carson.
Moult then had a header saved following a Tanner free-kick, before the Steelmen's goal led a charmed life when Griffiths rounded Carson but shot against the left post with the goal gaping.
Griffiths nodded over a centre from sub Patrick Roberts and then Motherwell defender Peter Hartley turned the ball against his own post after a Stuart Armstrong cross.
Roberts shot over and the final action of the match summed up the day from Motherwell's point of view when Moult's fine free-kick hit the right post.
Motherwell: Carson, Tait, Grimshaw (Tanner 50), Hartley, Cadden, McHugh, Moult, Bowman (Campbell 63), Rose (Frear 69), Dunne, Kipre.