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Stuart Kettlewell couldn’t ask for more from Ross County in their opening three games – and he wants to see the same against Dundee United

Stuart Kettlewell.
Stuart Kettlewell.

Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell feels the Staggies have set the bar for the remainder of the campaign with their opening three performances.

County remain undefeated after recording their best Premiership start, with victories over Motherwell and Hamilton Accies followed by Wednesday’s 2-2 draw at home to Kilmarnock.

Ross Stewart’s late penalty bagged a point against Kilmarnock in midweek.

The Dingwall men are looking to extend that run when they host Dundee United today, with Kettlewell hoping the Staggies can maintain their early levels.

Kettlewell said: “I’m reluctant to get carried away, but watching the energy in Wednesday’s game and how much our players are putting out there for the football club – it’s what is expected as a player.

“Their energy levels have been great, their bravery has been good on the ball, their reaction to going behind for the first time this season was terrific.

“I can’t ask a great deal more of them to this point, so I think what we’ve done is set ourselves a precedent and a foundation.

“It’s something I can refer back to if I find us coming off these levels at any point, I can refer back to what we’ve seen already.

“A lot of it has been really good understanding of what we’re asking from them, and there have been great reactions to whatever has been coming at them in games.

“If we fall below this, we will know where we are and where we can pitch it.”

United have a number of injury doubts, including talismanic striker Lawrence Shankland who has missed their last two matches.

Kettlewell is keen not to deliberate over whether the Scotland international, who netted 29 goals last term, will be fit.

He added: “It’s not a situation that’s going to affect me.

“If he plays, he plays, if he doesn’t he doesn’t.

“He gets a lot of good press, and rightly so with his goals and the quality he has brought to the team, how he has evolved and become better as a player, so credit to him.

“I know that whether it’s Louis Apperre or Nicky Clark, or any of the other guys they have got in these forward areas, we’re going to be playing against difficult opponents.

“I’m not going to be disrespectful and say it’s a great situation if Lawrence Shankland doesn’t take to the pitch, because they have other good players anyway.”

Talismanic forward Lawrence Shankland has been absent for Dundee United’s last couple of games.

Kettlewell is looking forward to coming up against recently-appointed United manager Micky Mellon for the first time, adding: “He’s not a guy I know.

“Obviously much of his career has been in England, and it has been a very successful one.

“You certainly hear a lot of people speaking well of him, and I can see the work he has done from afar.

“It’s a different style probably from what Robbie Neilson had adopted at Dundee United, different methods as it is with every manager.

“It’s a fresh challenge for us, a fresh team to play against and hopefully we embrace it and enjoy it.”

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