Stewart earns Kettlewell praise after netting winner at Motherwell

Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell hailed match-winner Ross Stewart after he continued his remarkable footballing journey in Saturday’s 2-1 Ladbrokes Premiership victory over 10-man Motherwell.

The 23-year-old continued his excellent start to the season when he headed home Richard Foster’s pinpoint cross in the 87th minute to ensure the Staggies travelled north with maximum points after a thrilling comeback against their in-form opponents.

Stewart struggled in the lower reaches of the junior game in Ayrshire before moving to Kilwinning Rangers which led to Albion Rovers giving him his chance at senior football.

The rangy striker’s unquestionable ability landed him a full-time contract at St Mirren but – after a difficult spell in Paisley – he is now thriving in Dingwall to the delight of Kettlewell.

He said: “It’s been a bit of a process with Ross. When he first came to the club it was a project but he gives us so many different options.

“His goal typifies the threat he carries and his goalscoring record with us has been outstanding.

“His level of performance keeps getting better and better. He’s a young lad who hasn’t been involved in full-time football when you put it in perspective – we couldn’t be happier with him.

“He’s an intelligent guy, which is rare in football and he takes on messages well because he has a burning desire to reach the next level.

“He had to be patient last season but you can see how important he has become for us.”

Ross County’s stirring comeback emphasised the quality and experience they possess since their promotion to the Scottish top flight but Motherwell were unfortunate to lose.

Allan Campbell gave the ‘Well the lead after 61 minutes following a flowing move and they could have moved second in the table with a win.

But, after substitute Brian Graham equalised, the hosts’ afternoon went from bad to worse when Jake Carroll was sent off for two bookings in quick succession.

Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson felt aggrieved with referee Alan Muir, who also disallowed a Declan Gallagher goal before failing to award the hosts a penalty for handball.

Robinson said: “Can somebody tell me why Declan’s goal was disallowed? There was no foul whatsoever.

“Can someone explain the new hand rule? Because there was no penalty.

“The referees have a hard enough job and I don’t come in and blame anybody even when it’s maybe cost us.

“I don’t know the rule half the time so how they work it out at a million miles an hour, I’ve no idea.”