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Ross Stewart in same price bracket as Scotland forward Lyndon Dykes, says Staggies boss Stuart Kettlewell

Ross Stewart.
Ross Stewart.

Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell has hinted the Staggies will not allow forward Ross Stewart to leave for any less than a seven-figure fee.

Stewart has been the subject of speculation in recent months with Hibernian, Aberdeen, Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers among the clubs to have been credited with an interest.

It follows an impressive debut campaign in the Premiership in which Stewart netted 11 goals in 26 appearances last term, with two strikes to his name so far this year.

Kettlewell has watched County’s Premiership rivals cash in on attacking assets in recent months, with Saturday’s opponents Livingston landing £2 million for newly called-up Scotland forward Lyndon Dykes from QPR only last week.

Motherwell also pocketed £1.5 million for James Scott from Hull City in January, and Kettlewell feels Stewart is of similar calibre.

Kettlewell said: “There have been murmurs and bits of contact, but our standpoint is exactly the same.

“I’m not surprised by the contact we have had, but as it sits at this stage, nobody has come close to meeting our valuation of the player.

“I think that the Scottish market is probably a wee bit stronger than it has been over a period of time.

“You look at James Scott going from Motherwell, and Lyndon Dykes going from Livingston, and we would pitch Ross Stewart into that category with those guys.

“The role he plays in our team puts a huge value on the player.”

Kettlewell has no question marks Stewart’s head is in the right place, with the 24-year-old now in the final year of his Victoria Park contract.

He added: “The golden nugget for us is that he loves playing football for this club, and he believes he’s getting better every day.

“It’s a win-win situation for us, he delivers on the pitch on a Saturday, and he’s a brilliant guy to work with during the week.

“We’ve got a very good relationship with Ross’s agent, he’s someone that I speak to on a regular basis, and we’re reading off the same hymn sheet.

“We all believe he’s developing as a player where he is just now, so for someone to change that situation, it’s going to cost them a pretty penny.

“Outwith all that we have a chairman that says he has a major value to us, so if nobody meets that value he stays at this football club and he will hopefully go on to score double figures over the course of the next season.”

Stewart was hurt in the challenge which resulted in the dismissal of St Mirren defender Joe Shaughnessy during Saturday’s 1-1 draw in Paisley, however Kettlewell expects Stewart to be fit for Saturday’s trip to Livingston.

He added: “Ross was a bit sore on Saturday night, and on Sunday.

“Testament to Ross, he was able to play on. There was nothing serious, we will get him back out on the training pitch and he will be fine.

“It’s on St Mirren whether they want to appeal it or not. Jim said after the game he didn’t think it was a red card, and I think the indication of not appealing probably tells you what the rest of us saw.”

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