Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell says the Staggies have taken steps to protect Michael Gardyne’s mental wellbeing after allegations he made an offensive remark to an opponent.
Gardyne was accused of making a derogatory comment towards a Rangers player during the Staggies’ 4-0 defeat to Steven Gerrard’s men on December 6.
Following a week-long club investigation into the incident, County concluded on Monday they would take no further measures against the 34-year-old. The Dingwall outfit have also received no notification from the Scottish FA regarding any potential action.
Gardyne is believed to have been on the receiving end of threats and abuse since the allegations were first raised, and Kettlewell says the winger’s mental health has been at the forefront of the club’s investigation.
Kettlewell said: “Michael is a strong guy and we all know he is a character in the game.
“He has probably had to listen to stuff outside this football club over that stretch.
“It is never nice and the world we live in, through social media, there have been various situations that have come up.
“Has he had threats? From what I am led to believe, that might be the case.
“But I don’t have any evidence in front of me and I have not seen any evidence. I don’t go on social media.
“I have never been on social media and I will never go on it for as long as I live.
“I feel very passionately about it, I don’t respect it because I don’t think it has any value at all.
“After speaking to Michael
over the last seven days or so he has got his head down and he knows what he is working towards and he knows what he needs to do.
“We have to make sure his mental health is okay in amongst it when you are coming in for criticism, whether it is justified or not.
“It is not just our young players but our older ones and all our players.
“He has had the support of the football club throughout the whole thing.
“We have tried to conduct our investigation in the fairest manner possible but in amongst all that, we were also looking out for Michael.”
With bottom-placed County at home to 11th-placed Hamilton Accies tomorrow in a crucial Premiership encounter, Kettlewell is confident Gardyne has not allowed the situation to derail his focus.
Kettlewell is keen to draw a line under the matter, and he added: “I can only say we conducted a thorough internal investigation, we took advice from people in the correct place, who are in a place to advise me in such a situation.
“We spoke to the relevant parties and looked at the relevant evidence, such as television footage, and we took into consideration what the referee had said at the time and who was the closest person to the incident.
“We also spoke to Michael directly and as far as we are concerned the matter is done.
“I have an opinion on how the chain of events came about.
“I don’t want to throw my player under the bus where I feel he is innocent in a situation.
“We have tried to do things the right way. The football club has looked at absolutely everything and we have concluded that investigation and now we want to move on.”