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Ross County manager furious after Hibernian call off

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell was left furious after the club’s planned friendly with Hibernian last weekend fell through.

Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness.
Ross County(1) v Kilmarnock(0). 14.12.19.
Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell.
Picture - Ken Macpherson, Inverness. Ross County(1) v Kilmarnock(0). 14.12.19. Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell.

The Staggies had made it as far as Perth before being informed there may be an issue, as the Hibees had not received the results of Covid-19 tests for their squad yet.

Unlike other Premiership clubs, Hibs had been testing their players on Thursdays, and any attempt to fast track the results did not come off for them last weekend.

For Kettlewell, it was a major disappointment as it meant his side were left without a match with no time to make alternative arrangements.

“I can’t dress it up in any other way, I was absolutely livid on Saturday, really annoyed,” he said.

“We were sitting with a group of players at Perth waiting to see if we would get test results to see if we could actually play the game.

“The game was planned weeks in advance, and we tested on the Tuesday because we know that it can take 48 hours to get test results back. We got our results back on Thursday night.

“That was after chasing up the results to make sure we got them as quickly as we possibly could.

“If we had even known on the Friday we could have organised a bounce game or done some training work.”

There was a financial cost to the Staggies to not play a game too, but the situation also served as a warning shot to clubs of what could happen when the season starts in nine days’ time.

Clubs are required to test weekly, and if results are not back games will not be allowed to go ahead.

Kettlewell though is sure that will not be an issue at County due to the procedures in place.

“I think we all know the rules by now, we all have enough people behind us that we know the procedures,” Kettlewel said.

“It’s a football decision, but I’m looking at the bigger picture – we’ve all spoken about it for weeks, months, – we know what the pitfalls are if we don’t operate in the correct manner.

“The government will step in and tell us that we can’t play football.

“It costs us £2000 to test, and then when you add in the transport and travel, all in all we’re £3000 down as a football club and we never kicked a ball last weekend.

“There was a large sense of frustration, but it’s not on me to tell people what’s right or wrong.

“It’s up to everybody to adhere to the rules and do it in the correct fashion. All I can say is we’ve definitely got our own house in order.”

Read today's North Star by clicking here.

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