Stuart Kettlewell excited by Motherwell promise as youthful side ease to cup win

Stuart Kettlewell started three teenagers at Elgin (Steve Welsh/PA)
Anthony Brown, PA

Stuart Kettlewell was pleased to see his youthful Motherwell side avoid becoming one of the shock victims in the first round of Viaplay Cup group-stage fixtures.

A Well team that started with three teenagers ran out 2-0 victors away to League Two outfit Elgin on a day when their Premiership rivals St Johnstone and St Mirren, as well as recently-relegated Dundee United, suffered humiliating defeats at the hands of lower-league opponents.

Lennon Miller, 16, and Jon Obika got the goals for the Steelmen.

“We had a lot of control in the first half and they changed their shape slightly in the second half and caused us one or two problems,” Kettlewell told Well TV. “By and large, I’m relatively pleased but we know it wasn’t perfect.

“We’ve got so much more to give, but that’s the exciting bit. Pre-season gives you an opportunity to try and squeeze more out of individuals but now we’re into the competitive stuff and you can see from other results that this is difficult, it’s not an easy competition.

“Some of the top-flight clubs have lost their opening game and we’ve managed to come away on a long journey and get three points in the group.”

Kettlewell handed starts to 16-year-old pair Miller and Luca Ross as well as 18-year-old Ewan Wilson, while 17-year-old Mark Ferrie made his debut as a late sub.

“I listen to Motherwell supporters and I believe a big part of the identity of Motherwell Football Club is the young emerging talent and giving them an opportunity to play,” said Kettlewell.

“I’ve always played young players if I feel they’re good enough. I’m not scared to do it.

“The four guys – two 16-year-olds, a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old – have all done well in pre-season and earned this opportunity and we think they can become much better.”