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'Assassination' of Ross County's defensive displays has been excessive, says manager Kettlewell


By Alasdair Fraser

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Stuart Kettlewell feels Ross County have been “assassinated” for defensive displays and unfairly criticised for results and performances during the first eight games of the season.

The Staggies manager held up summer signing Alex Iacovitti as a shining light among some very strong individual performers.

But Kettlewell believes his team, as a whole, have not been given enough credit for forging a decent start, with three wins and two draws taking them fifth in the Premiership.

Asked if Saturday’s victory at St Johnstone was a timely boost before facing Aberdeen and Rangers, Kettlewell replied: “I think you guys probably make a bigger situation of it than we do.

Alex Iacovitti has drawn praise from Ross County boss Stuart Kettlewell for his performances. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Alex Iacovitti has drawn praise from Ross County boss Stuart Kettlewell for his performances. Picture: Ken Macpherson

“I want to win every single game, as do the players. It was great to get a win last week, as it always is in the Premiership.

“We know we are coming into a tough run of games and it gives us that wee added boost and confidence going into the weekend’s game against Aberdeen.

“I wasn’t too despondent with what we were doing, or with individual performances.

“We have been assassinated for our defensive displays. We conceded five against Celtic, but outwith that the picture painted on occasion has been completely out of proportion if we are being fair.

“You could see on Saturday that not just our defenders, but our entire group had taken that one [to heart] and it probably got under their skin a little bit. They defended their penalty box manfully.

“I genuinely believe it breeds confidence going into Sunday and we have to relish the challenge of playing Aberdeen, who have also started the season well.”

Former Notts Forest, Oldham and Scotland under-21 centre half Iacovitti, had been exceptional and had “flown under the radar”, Kettlewell said.

“How he’s handled himself around the football club after moving away from home and setting up here has been brilliant.

“I genuinely believe he will go from strength-to-strength.

“He has a pathway and plan for where he wants to go in the game and he’s got off to a great start to it at Ross County.”

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