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Lack of friendlies will not be used as excuse by Ross County in Premiership, says manager Kettlewell


By Andrew Henderson

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Stuart Kettlewell says Ross County will be as ready as they can be for the Premiership campaign after running into issues with pre-season friendlies.

The Staggies boss was left seething after a friendly against Hibernian last Saturday fell through with the team already in Perth on their way to Easter Road.

County are due to face Livingston tomorrow, and Kettlewell will be hoping for an experience closer to the one they had at Aberdeen two weeks ago.

The Hibees call-off, coupled with the reluctance of teams to travel to Dingwall themselves, means that just 10 days away from their opening Premiership match against Motherwell, County have only completed one 90-minute against a different team.

Even then, most players were only on the pitch for one half against the Dons as Kettlewell tried to get as many of his players in action as possible.

Stuart Kettlewell is adamant that a lack of pre-season friendlies will not be an excuse for Ross County at the start of the Premiership season. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Stuart Kettlewell is adamant that a lack of pre-season friendlies will not be an excuse for Ross County at the start of the Premiership season. Picture: Ken Macpherson

Instead, intra-squad bounce games have taken place in Dingwall.

It is by no means ideal preparation, but Kettlewell is adamant that there will be no excuses come Monday, August 3.

“We’re outside of that central belt bubble, so we’ll have to take what we get,” he admitted.

“We probably are behind in the amount of game time we would normally have, but that’s up to myself and the staff to be that wee bit more creative and ensure that we can go out and play.

“We’re trying to get as much as we can out of our players here, and we’re asking for as many games as we can. We will travel wherever, on astro turf or grass, we’ll play anywhere, but it has definitely been a challenge for us.

“I can categorically say that myself and my players won’t make it an excuse when we go to play that first game against Motherwell.

“We will be as ready as we can possibly be.”

Kettlewell had hoped to travel to Northern Ireland to play games – like Celtic have done in France – but it proved too impractical to go through with that plan.

“We have said we’re prepared to travel anywhere to go and get a game, but it’s really not proven that easy for us,” he added.

“We thought we might have had a trip to Northern Ireland, but we couldn’t do that because we couldn’t prove we had that bio-safe bubble you need.

“We couldn’t charter a flight like Rangers or Celtic, we couldn’t take over a hotel like Rangers or Celtic, so we had to quash that option which isn’t ideal for me as a manager.

“I would have loved to have gone ahead and done it, but it wasn’t my decision to make.”

Read the full edition of today's Ross-shire Journal here.


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