Soccer

Stuart Kettlewell has mixed emotions as Motherwell claim late Ross County draw

Stuart Kettlewell’s Motherwell drew 3-3 on Saturday (Steve Welsh/PA)
Stuart Kettlewell’s Motherwell drew 3-3 on Saturday (Steve Welsh/PA) Stuart Kettlewell’s Motherwell drew 3-3 on Saturday (Steve Welsh/PA)

Stuart Kettlewell admitted to having mixed emotions after his side mounted an incredible late fightback to claim a share of the spoils in a 3-3 cinch Premiership draw against his former club Ross County.

The Steelmen trailed 3-1 with two minutes remaining but fought back thanks to goals from substitutes Conor Wilkinson and Luca Ross.

“It probably descended into utter chaos is my honest answer to it,” Kettlewell said.

“I thought Ross County were the better team in the first 10-15 minutes then I thought we got on top. We had territorial advantage, we had more of the ball and played the game in their half of the pitch.

“We started the second half like that and then began to sort of shoot ourselves in the foot if I’m being honest with you.”

After an uneventful first half, the game would burst into life as goals from Eamonn Brophy and Simon Murray had County in control.

Mike Biereth came off the bench to get a goal back for the home side, though any hopes of an unlikely comeback seemed to have disappeared when Victor Loturi added a third after 82 minutes.

With two minutes left on the clock, Wilkinson restored some hope for Motherwell following a good finish and Ross would scramble home in the fifth minute of added time to send Fir Park wild.

Kettlewell added: “Our organisation again, two goals start from throw-ins, which again we need to be better at.

“I probably take exception to the first goal if I’m being honest with you, just in terms of Victor Loturi takes a touch and it sort of comes off his hand. It then deviates into the path of Kyle Turner.

“My understanding is, if that then leads to a goal, then it quite clearly has had an impact.

“The fourth official’s reasoning was that he didn’t score the goal, so it’s not the case – I was a little bit surprised by that.”

Despite his frustration in the manner of which his team conceded, Kettlewell was thrilled with the resilience shown in them battling back to grab a point.

Motherwell looked set to fall to their fifth-straight Premiership defeat before rescuing the game in the dying stages.

“I think the reaction of the players is pretty stunning again to be honest with you,” he added.

“Being 3-1 down with seven or eight minutes to go, to come back and get that point and to have our substitutes score all three goals.

“I think that puts us in a slightly better place than what we would of been of course, but there’s a lot of frustrations there for me.

“It showed that we have that little bit more strength in depth and more options than I’ve had all season off the bench – fortunately three substitutes come on and have a real good impact for us.”

Malky Mackay was gutted after seeing his side throw away their lead late on at Fir Park but insisted he was still proud of the performance of his players.

“Overall it’s two points dropped, I’m disappointed with the fact we allowed them a sniff of getting back into it again,” he said.

“I suppose reflecting on the whole game, we knew it was going to be a tough game coming down here.

“Motherwell are getting a lot of plaudits, they are sitting well in the league and they’ve done well.

“To come to Motherwell, score three and play the way we did. Murray’s goal is top class – I don’t know how many passes it turned into before the ball went into the net.

“To go and play the way we did against them at times – really dominate the ball – is something I’m proud of.”