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Stuart Kettlewell hails Ross County win ahead of tough Premiership run-in

Rangers v Ross County – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Stuart Kettlewell says Ross County’s Perth triumph was just the confidence booster they needed before they take on the Scottish Premiership’s high-flyers.

The Staggies had gone five games without a win but halted that slump with a hard-fought 1-0 win against St Johnstone.

But they will face tougher tests over their next three top-flight dates with a trip to Rangers squeezed in between the visits of Aberdeen and Hibernian to Dingwall.

“It was a big win, we’re not going to hide from that,” said Kettlewell after Iain Vigurs’ free-kick sealed the points at McDiarmid Park.

“We spoke to the players at the start of the game and the fact of the matter was we hadn’t won in a few games and the pressure starts to mount, and people want to jump on us and come after us.

“But if you look again at our average age and the guys we’ve got out on the pitch, we’ve got a young team.

“For that, there’s going to be mistakes and for that one or two questions get asked.

“But these guys are learning the ropes at Premiership level. I thought our young 18-year-old (Josh Reid) was excellent again at left-back and if you look at our back line in general it’s pretty young.

“From our starting 11, pretty much only Iain Vigurs and Michael Gardyne who have real experience of playing the Premiership continuously.

“So we know that’s a work in progress but we have to build that consistency as quickly as we possibly can.

“We’ve got a couple of hard fixtures coming up but I think you relish it now, you start to look forward to it off the back of getting three points on board.”

Saints left out new signing Craig Bryson but did hand striker Stevie May his first start of the season.

However, it was left-back Scott Tanser who came closest to an equaliser when he slammed against the crossbar just after half-time.

Saints also had two first-half handball appeals in the penalty area turned down but boss Callum Davidson reckons his team’s luck will change soon.

“I think we will get some decisions coming our way pretty soon,” he said. “It is one of those. You win some, you lose some.

“I thought Stevie May, for me, that was probably Stevie of old. I thought he worked extremely hard, his movement was really good, so I’m glad he’s back full fitness.

“He gives me something else to work with going forward.”