BRENDAN Rodgers, the Celtic manager, has insisted the integrity of his players is not questionable after Scott Sinclair and Callum McGregor were accused of diving for penalties in two successive games against Motherwell this week.

The Fir Park club were incensed at the decisions that went against them at Hampden in the Betfred League Cup final and then again during Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw.

TV pictures seemed to suggest referee Willie Collum called the McGregor incident correctly and Rodgers has maintained his side do not deserve to have their honesty queried.

“If people have any issues with our behaviour remember we won the Fairplay Award last year,” said Rodgers. “My notion has always been that the team always has to have values, and the first one is respect.

“There are three values in our team – which are respect, unity and excellence. All defined by the players and staff and I think how they’ve lived up to those values has been incredible, really.

“So we aim always to win but also, importantly for me, is to reinforce the values of the club, the team and always winning in a sporting way. That’s what we always try to do and if we draw a game or whatever we have to be honest enough and move on.

“People will always find a reason to be negative, or find a reason to lose or draw or whatever, but that’s okay. Our headlines are for the game and always will be. You lose track of what people are trying to say and it doesn’t bother us.”

Celtic’s penalty at Fir Park which preserved their unbeaten sequence of games was the first in the league this term, something that Rodgers was keen to point out. “We were at the bottom of the table for penalties given before Wednesday night – and the other one was last week,” he said.

“I suspect if there was analysis done, we’re probably in the box more than any team – and in the box with quality possession. I said after the League Cup final that I don’t think we get the penalties we should get.”

Sinclair dispatched the spot kick at Fir Park after being goaded throughout by the home support. The Englishman stood accused of going down too easily at Hampden but there is a theory that unless a player does go down under contact a penalty will not be given.

The point was made this week that Sinclair stood up after being fouled by Hibs defender Efe Ambrose in the 2-2 draw at Celtic Park. Had he gone to ground the likelihood is that he would have won a penalty but staying on his feet drew little advantage as he missed the target.

“We’re all human,” said Rodgers. “We see it. How many times have you watched a game, the guy stays up and straight away people say, ‘If he goes down he gets a penalty’? We can’t be contradictory here. You know if you stay on your feet you don’t get it – let’s be clear. But at the same time, if a player does go down if he’s impeded, he shouldn’t be punished for it either.

“I certainly haven’t seen it happen where a player is in the box, he’s impeded, and stays on his feet and gets a penalty,” said Rodgers. “Again, both referees were in perfect positions. Craig Thomson was right up with the game and he can see it. In fairness to Willie Collum the other night, he was right on the spot.

“I said last week with Scotty that he goes to ground because he’s impeded. If he feels that he can stay on his feet with a chance to score, he will.

“We’ve seen it a number of times. Leigh Griffiths against Rangers last year was through and it was a clear penalty.

“You’re handing that responsibility to referees.”

“Scotty wouldn’t have had to go down if he felt he had to get a penalty, because the foul is the foul.”