Soccer

Stuart Kettlewell applauds Motherwell after come-from-behind win over Kilmarnock

Motherwell boss Stuart Kettlewell praised a battling performance from his players (Steve Welsh/PA)
Motherwell boss Stuart Kettlewell praised a battling performance from his players (Steve Welsh/PA)

Motherwell boss Stuart Kettlewell hailed the resilience of his squad after they battled back from a goal behind to defeat Kilmarnock 2-1 in the cinch Premiership.

Marley Watkins broke the deadlock after 12 minutes and Killie could and should have added to their advantage in the first half.

Kettlewell’s side were much improved after the break, however, and Dan Casey levelled matters before Harry Paton netted in the seventh minute of stoppage time to take the Steelmen joint top of the table.

The Motherwell boss has faced an injury crisis at the club in recent weeks, with Conor Wilkinson the latest to face a spell on the sidelines.

Despite that, the Steelmen demonstrated all their fighting qualities after the break to claim an outstanding victory.

“We’re delighted. I think you are delighted with three points at any stage in this league, but especially after the first 45 minutes where I just didn’t feel we were at the races,” Kettlewell said.

“We had a few tweaks and changes to our set-up because of the tough week that we’ve had – we’ve had a really difficult spell trying to make sure we can put a team on the park.

“That’s why people pay their money, they want to see their team score a last-minute winner.

“Without getting too nostalgic about it, I think your team should be an identification as to what you are as a person.

“I always demand resilience and good reaction from us. Even if one or two were in the dressing room at half-time feeling a bit sorry for themselves with what we said or the changes we made – it is always with the right intention.”

Kettlewell also confirmed that defender Ricki Lamie is set to depart the club, with a move to Dundee on the horizon.

Lamie has yet to feature for Motherwell in the Premiership this season.

“There looks like a situation where Ricki could be on the move and, again, if I was sitting as a selfish guy I’d be saying I want to keep as many senior players as I can,” Kettlewell said.

“You can see we’ve got six teenagers in our squad today, two starting and four on the bench. I need as many senior players as I can get.

“Though to alter and readdress the balance, it’s a situation that probably will happen and whether that’s the opportunity to free up some up funds for us to see if we can bring in another attack-minded player.

“That’s certainly something we are looking at. There’s nothing concrete in terms of an incoming but it’s looking likely there will be an outgoing.”

Derek McInnes was left frustrated as his Kilmarnock side fell to defeat from a commanding position.

Killie suffered their first loss of the new campaign after conceding with the final kick of the ball at Fir Park and McInnes is keen to ensure that his players bounce back quickly

“It’s a really disappointing end up for us. It’s important when you can’t win a game that you make sure you don’t lose it,” he said.

“There’s a lot of optimism, the way the players have been of late and the results recently. I think you see we bounced into Fir Park today ready to take them on.

“It’s not going to affect what we do this season. I’m pretty sure this is a different looking Kilmarnock, it’s important we remember that. We take the belt and are ready to win a home game next week.

“Hopefully we can come through this first round of games with a lot of positivity.”