Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes was left frustrated that referee Kevin Clancy and his fellow officials failed to spot a hand-ball in the build-up to Motherwell’s opening goal.
McInnes reckons the goal should never have stood as it was handled by Richard Tait who then passed to Curtis Main to score.
It was a pivotal decision as the Reds had been the more dangerous team until that goal in the 20th minute.
McInnes said: “It was hand-ball, and a free-kick.
“I actually don’t think the referee can see it clearly. I thought it was a hand- ball from where I was standing and I had a slightly better angle.
“Certainly the official behind the goal should see it is a handball.
“Tait’s used his arm to leverage it into his path for the second phase of the next pass for the goal.
“Between the five officials, they should get that right.
“While Dominic (Ball) shouldn’t stop, the officials need to take responsibility for that.
“These things happen in games but it was such a big moment as the first goal is always so important.”
Within two minutes the Dons were 2-0 down to the Steelmen although McInnes insists there was no foul on Icelandic international Kari Arnason who toppled in the box when jostling for the ball with Ryan Bowman.
“For their second goal I thought at the time it was a foul on Arnason,” said McInnes.
“Having seen it again, I don’t think it is. We should deal with that better.
“Where I am disappointed with my team, there has been a pattern in certain games this season where we have lost the first goal and then we have quickly lost another one.
“That for me is down to mental focus and concentration and not letting a poor situation become more difficult.
“Two-nil is one of those scorelines where you’re still in the game.”
Aberdeen had three players out through suspension for the semi-final – skipper Graeme Shinnie, Kenny McLean and Shaleum Logan.
McInnes’ team were further weakened by the double injury blow to Niall McGinn and Gary Mackay-Steven.
Neither winger was fit to start and had to come off the bench instead.
McInnes said: “Mackay-Steven and McGinn were ruled out on Monday for starting the game.
“Both were doubtful for making the squad but they did a bit of work on Friday, so I was just grateful both travelled and were able to take a place on the bench.
“But at 2-0 down and going out of the cup we made the changes with Mackay-Steven and McGinn coming on to try to stretch them.
“It was a very bold and expansive team and we were playing the game a bit more in their half.
“Then the third goal absolutely killed us. It’s clearly a mistake from Arnie (Kari Arnason) where he should just clear his lines. Any momentum we had quickly evaporated.”