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Stephen Robinson rues Motherwell’s sloppy start as Ross County pick up win

Stephen Robinson court case
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson felt his side paid the price for a complacent start as they fell to an opening defeat to Ross County.

County claimed a 1-0 victory thanks to Ross Stewart’s 24th-minute penalty after making a brighter start to their Scottish Premiership opener in Dingwall.

Motherwell got going after falling behind but Liam Donnelly missed the target from a second-half spot-kick and Christopher Long and Callum Lang also squandered good chances before the latter was sent off on his debut.

Robinson said: “We started the game very poorly and thought we could just pass the ball about and win the game comfortably. There are some young mindsets here.”

The Motherwell boss admitted both Declan Gallagher and Lang had given referee Nick Walsh every opportunity to penalise them. Gallagher gave away the penalty for a reckless challenge on Harry Paton and Lang was sent off for hacking down Michael Gardyne to stop a break.

“Declan said he won the ball, but if you go to ground you give the referee a decision to make,” he said.

“After that we totally dominated the game. Long had a chance and should have scored, Callum Lang should score, anywhere else and it’s a goal, and we miss a penalty.

“Callum did the same as Declan, when you go to ground you give the referee a decision to make and it looked like a red card to me.”

County manager Stuart Kettlewell was delighted to see Stewart net on his first start of 2020 after a hamstring injury hindered his progress before the lockdown.

“We know Ross is a top player,” Kettlewell said. “I just love his application and attitude towards the game.

“I can actually see him start to develop into a bit of a leader in our group now and I hear his voice more than I have done in past seasons.

“I can see him conducting the orchestra so to speak out there. He’s brimming with confidence and rightly so.

“When you put that much effort and application into a game it is so nice to see that finishing touch and composure to complete a pass or finish off his penalty in the way he does.

“I expect that from him. I believe he is still getting better and better as the weeks go on.

“I saw it in pre-season and expected him to hit those heights.”

Kettlewell added: “I’ve probably singled guys out but I thought the entire team, to a man, were excellent including those coming off the bench.”