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Ross Stewart will cost ‘a pretty penny’, Stuart Kettlewell warns suitors

Ross County Headshots 2020/2021 – Global Energy Stadium
(Image credit: Ken Macpherson)

Stuart Kettlewell has warned clubs after Ross Stewart that Ross County will demand a seven-figure fee to release their in-form frontman.

Stoke, Middlesbrough and Blackburn have all reportedly been keeping tabs on the Staggies striker.

But, with the Scottish market booming, Kettlewell insists the 23-year-old will not be leaving on the cheap.

Hull were forced to fork out £1.5million to sign Motherwell’s James Scott in January, while Livingston’s Lyndon Dykes last week completed a £2million switch to QPR.

And Stewart’s Dingwall employers will be looking for a similar windfall before they decide to let the player, who has netted twice in County’s opening five Scottish Premiership games, move south from the Highlands.

Kettlewell said: “There’s been murmurs and bits of contact but our stand point is exactly the same.

“Ross has been terrific and I’m not surprised by the contact we have had. But as it sits at the minute nobody has come close to meeting our valuation of the player.

“I think the Scottish market is probably a bit stronger than it has been. I look at James Scott going from Motherwell to Hull and Lyndon Dykes moving from Livingston to QPR and we pitch Ross Stewart into the same category as these guys.

“The effect he has had on our team puts a huge value on him.

“The golden nugget for us is that the guy loves playing for this club and believes that he’s getting better every day.

“It’s a win-win situation for us. He delivers on the pitch on a Saturday, a brilliant guy through the week and we’re not sitting here with a player and an agent (agitating for a move). I have a great relationship with Ross’ agent, we’re all reading off the same hymn sheet in that we believe he is developing where he is right now.

“For someone to change that situation it’s going to cost them a pretty penny.”

Kettlewell was relieved to see his prize asset escape serious injury after Stewart was scythed down by St Mirren’s Joe Shaughnessy on Saturday.

The Buddies have decided not to appeal against their defender’s sending-off for the shocking calf-high tackle and Kettlewell has praised fourth official Willie Collum for making sure Shaughnessy did not escape punishment after rookie referee Mike Roncone initially waved play on.

“Fortunately we had a bit of experience with the fourth official in Willie Collum, who saw exactly what had happened,” said the Staggies boss.

“Whatever way we get to the correct decision, it doesn’t matter.

“Mike is a fairly inexperienced ref at Premiership level, so its right he can rely on his fourth official. We do the same with our young, inexperienced players on the pitch and hope that your senior pros can help to educate them and give them a helping hand. I think that’s what happened on Saturday.

“It was St Mirren’s decision whether they appealed against it or not.”