Ross County manager Kettlewell empathises with Celtic boss Lennon over pressure
Get the Ross-shire Journal sent to your inbox every week and swipe through an exact replica of the day's newspaper
They dwell on different planets in terms of club size and finance, but Stuart Kettlewell and Celtic’s Neil Lennon could easily find common ground over a cuppa after Sunday’s League Cup tie in Glasgow.
Two managers under pressure at clubs they played for with pride. Two managers publicly questioning the pride and desire within their own, recently maligned squads.
The County manager expressed empathy with Lennon, slated for poor form recently with Rangers in the ascendency. In equal measure, Kettlewell spoke with disarming honesty of his own pressures in trying to wrench County free from a worrying seven-game winless run in the league.
“Is Neil Lennon deflecting pressure from me? You’ve got to make light of it,” Kettlewell joked, deep in a long and candid interview.
“I think Neil has done an amazing job, taking over from Brendan Rodgers and achieving what he has. He has stiff competition as Rangers are flying and a lot of clubs are improving, but to throw into question what he’s doing or has done as a manager is a bit ridiculous.
“They are looking to stay involved in Europe and in the cup. That makes it a stiff test for us, but one we relish.”
Kettlewell exhibits equal relish for his own formidable challenges.
“I don’t sit here in an ivory tower just because I have a relationship with the chairman and a history with the football club,” he stressed.
“The chairman challenges me on a daily basis. I can’t ask for any more than the backing he has given me, but one thing I do know is that my team continuing to perform as they did in the defeat to Kilmarnock on Saturday will increase the pressure on me.
“If they show the same over the next three, four or five games, then of course that puts me under pressure the same way it does anyone.
“It would take a brave man to say we’ll beat Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen in coming games, but I expect us to be competitive.”