Stuart Kettlewell delighted with Motherwell position with one game to go

Stuart Kettlewell is pleased with how far his side have come (Steve Welsh/PA)
Stuart Kettlewell is pleased with how far his side have come (Steve Welsh/PA)

Stuart Kettlewell focused on Motherwell’s impressive run despite failing to secure seventh place in the cinch Premiership after being pegged back in a 1-1 draw at Livingston.

Kevin van Veen scored the game’s opener inside the first three minutes of the game, equalling the club record set by Hugh Ferguson 103 years ago by scoring in a 10th consecutive top-flight game.

A late Andrew Shinnie equaliser rescued a point for the hosts, who had their goalkeeper Shamal George sent off in the first half.

Boss Kettlewell said: “I thought we did more than enough in the first half, I thought we were the dominant team when it was 11v11.

“I felt we got stuck down one side in every attack we made in the second half and that’s disappointing.

“Without trying to be too happy in a situation where I felt we should have got three points and a clean sheet, I just have to kind of focus on the run we’ve been on which has been amazing.

“We were a long way behind Livingston when I took over 13 games ago and we’re still sitting a point ahead of them and still got a chance to get that seventh spot which is an amazing achievement in itself.

“I think in my time and we’ve had a look at this, Rangers are on about 28 points in the 13 games and we sit on 27 points so that maybe speaks for itself.”

Livingston boss David Martindale admitted George’s red card was the correct decision, despite not agreeing with the way it was arrived at.

George’s foul came during a passage of play where Van Veen was offside according to the officials, but the flag was not raised until the phase of play ended.

He said: “I thought it was a red in real time but I don’t like this rule when somebody’s offside and you make the challenge and in the old days, I’m saying the old days but six months ago, the flag goes up and everybody else stops and the ref blows the whistle.

“I think if the boy’s offside – and I know the foul has been made – I’m not so sure the decision should still stand in terms of the foul. Maybe if it was extreme force or excessive force, yeah.”

Martindale was pleased with the way his side improved as the game wore on, saying: “First half we were very, very passive, Motherwell turned it a lot and the front two worked very hard.

“I just thought it was a wee bit of a Jekyll and Hyde performance in terms of first half too passive, making bad decision, not aggressive enough and second half I thought the boys were fantastic.”