Kettlewell dismisses Steelmen’s reputation for physicality

Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell.
Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell.

Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell believes Motherwell’s reputation for being overly-physical is a myth.

The Staggies travel to Fir Park tomorrow hoping to claim a Premiership scalp at Well’s expense and Kettlewell has dismissed the notion his team will need to prepare for a bruising afternoon.

He said: “Motherwell is going to be a hard game, a tough place to go and play, just as it is for most Premiership clubs.

“It is a physical test, but while everyone talks about it being a bruising encounter with Motherwell, I generally think it is most places you go.

“I’m not being disrespectful, but we’re playing Scottish football. There’s going to be an element of physicality about it. It is up to us to go and match it.

“I think Motherwell do it within the grounds of the rules. If they over-step the mark, same as everybody else, they’ll be punished for it.

“I know through speaking to Stephen Robinson he is trying to maybe sprinkle in some extra bits of quality here and there, to see if they can be a bit more creative at times.

“It’s going to be a proper cup tie, that’s for sure.

“They were in two cup finals last year which suggests they excel in these types of game. We better make sure we’re ready to go toe-to-toe with them.”

The Staggies have been favourites in almost every game they have played this season and Kettlewell has urged his side to enjoy the underdogs tag for a change tomorrow.

He said: “I’m going to go down the route everybody else goes down and say they’re favourites because they’re the Premier team and we’re from the Championship.

“It’s great to be underdogs for a change – we’ll relish it.

“We believe we’ve got Premier League players in our squad and we have guys who have played a lot of games in the Premier League and are capable of doing so.

“It will be good for us to go and pitch ourselves against an out-and-out Premier League side this weekend. It has to be one that gets the juices flowing and motivated to play.”

Sean Kelly is available after training this week while captain Marcus Fraser returns from suspension but Josh Mullin misses out following his red card at Queen of the South last weekend while Don Cowie is a doubt with a calf injury.

Kettlewell said: Sean has come through the last couple of sessions well.

“He’s put himself in the picture. He’s obviously a wee bit behind in terms of fitness levels, having missed a long period of time.

“But he’s pushed on in the last couple of days. He’s going to need game-time, whether we see that this weekend or not. It’s certainly an option.”