Ross County: Stuart Kettlewell – ‘No talk of promotion’ says co-manager

Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell
Stuart Kettlewell says County must ‘kick on’ during the second half of the season
Scottish Championship: Greenock Morton v Ross County
Venue: Cappielow, Date: Friday, 4 January Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Alba & BBC Sport Scotland website & app

Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell insists “no-one has ever spoken about promotion” despite the club leading the Scottish Championship.

Four wins and two draws since only their second league defeat of the season at Dundee United on 10 November have seen County leapfrog Ayr United.

They lead by three points heading into Friday’s game at Greenock Morton.

“At no point have we ever told anybody we are going to get promoted,” Kettlewell told BBC Scotland.

“At no point have we said we are clear favourites to win the league or anything like that.

“We are happy with the position the players have put us in to this point, but we are certain it is going to be very difficult between now and the end of the season to stay there.

“We are playing against good teams, against clubs from big cities with big fan bases. People need to remember we come from Dingwall. It is a small town and we probably punch well above our weight in that sense.

“There are guys who were involved in a disappointing campaign last year but there hasn’t been any hangover.

“This first part of the season gets you involved in something but we need to kick on now. Myself and [co-manager] Steven [Ferguson] and the players are under no illusions about that.”

Free-scoring Mckay ‘doesn’t hide’

One player involved in last season’s relegation campaign was Billy Mckay, a year after suffering the same fate with County’s Highland rivals Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The 30-year-old striker’s goal in last Saturday’s 2-1 derby win over Thistle was his 15th goal this season, and his 12th in his last 13 games.

“Billy is a goal-scorer and has scored goals everywhere he has gone,” noted Kettlewell. “He probably had a couple of negative years with injuries and bits and pieces, but Billy doesn’t hide.

“He is so forward thinking in what he wants. If he is not scoring, he will go out on the training pitch and work harder, get himself in front of goal and practise scoring.

“I am glad to see him scoring on a regular basis, turning in the performances and being the influence in the squad we always thought he would be.”

Billy Mckay celebrates scoring for Ross County
Billy Mckay has scored 12 goals in his last 13 games for County

More Championship games on TV ‘only a good thing’

Kettlewell believes the County squad has shown “unbelievable resilience” this season, faced with a series of injuries to “big players”.

He maintains they are “in no mad rush” to reinforce the squad this month, but there might be “one or two bits of business” as he and Ferguson “look at the balance of the squad”.

“We believe in this group of players and if we can get a few of them back from injury, they will be almost like new players and give us a new dimension,” he added.

Friday’s game at Morton will be televised live by BBC Alba and streamed on the BBC Sport Scotland website, with more Championship fixtures screened on forthcoming Fridays as part of BBC Scotland’s new TV deal with the Scottish Professional Football League.

“Being able to televise more games and showcase what the Championship has to offer is great,” Kettlewell added.

“The focus on the Championship can only be a good thing. I think you’ll see a lot of surprise results and one or two players sticking their hands up and showing they are capable of going to the next level.”

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