MOTHERWELL manager Steven Hammell admits that Celtic are on a level his team ‘can’t compete with’ after their League Cup quarter-final defeat at Fir Park, but lamented the part his own side played in some of the goals they lost in the 4-0 loss.

Hammell was pleased with certain aspects of Motherwell’s performance, particularly in the first half when a late goal from Liel Abada was all that separated the sides on the scoreboard.

He conceded though that there was quite a gulf in quality between the two teams overall as the Steelmen’s efforts ultimately counted for very little.

"We came here to do well and the way it played out, it's still a little bit fresh, but we are massively disappointed,” Hammell said.

"For large parts of the first half we did okay, we were strong, we were in the game, we wanted to get after them.

"We have come up against a very good team, there is no getting away from that. It's a team that's on a certain level that we can't compete with, but we wanted to make this game as competitive as we could and I think we did for a large part of first half.

"And as everybody knows that's associated with football, the time we lose the goal and the goal was avoidable and probably consistent with the other goals we ended up losing as well.

"We felt there was still enough in the game for us. The second goal takes the life out of us, takes the life out of the stadium. It deflates us a little bit, it lifts them and lets them make some changes and be a little bit more free in their play. Good goals from their point of view but from our point of view absolutely avoidable.”

The concession of the key opening goal in particular annoyed the Motherwell manager.

"It's absolutely avoidable,” he said.

“We understand their threats and we know where they are in terms of how quick and sharp they are in and around the box, but we can stop that at the source. Especially at the time of the game.

“It doesn't really matter what kind of style you are playing, what your approach is or what formation you are playing, the scenarios we found ourselves in, we should deal with it better.”