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Stuart Kettlewell unhappy with ref for not awarding penalty in Dundee Utd loss

Celtic v Ross County – Pre-Season Friendly – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell was looking for an apology from referee Craig Napier after his team were not given a “stonewall penalty” in their 2-1 defeat against Dundee United.

Harry Paton claimed he was brought down in the penalty area by Mark Connolly midway through the first half, but he was shown a yellow card for simulation.

Kettlewell was adamant it should have been a spot-kick and was not happy with the official.

“It was a stonewall penalty,” Kettlewell said. “The referee assured us it wasn’t a penalty. We had a chat with him at half-time and asked the question and he guaranteed it wasn’t. But if it was (he said) he would apologise to us and we have not had the apology yet.

“I had to listen to a lot of stuff on Wednesday night (after 2-2 home draw with Kilmarnock), Kilmarnock claiming they should have two stonewall penalties, but that one trumps them.”

Ross County did take the lead before the half-hour mark through former Dundee United defender Coll Donaldson.

Iain Vigurs’ cross was headed out of the box by Louis Appere, but the ball fell to Ross Stewart who laid up Donaldson to fire a low volley from 20 yards out past goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist into the bottom-right corner.

However, United levelled five minutes before half-time when Luke Bolton’s cross from the left wing was met by Adrian Sporle. His shot was blocked by the defence but the ball fell kindly to Peter Pawlett to fire home from close range.

The visitors were the better team in the second period and had a golden chance to take the lead on the counter-attack on the hour mark.

Appere released Bolton who was one on one with Ross Laidlaw, but the goalkeeper did well to block his low shot.

United did find the winner 11 minutes from time when Cammy Smith’s pass into the box found Nicky Clark unchallenged and he fired past Laidlaw.

Kettlewell was disappointed with how County responded to losing their lead just before the interval.

“For me it was disappointing, we got away from the fundamentals and energy we had to win back ball, match runners and to defend the penalty area.

“It went to pot for us and that is the disappointing factor.”

Dundee United manager Micky Mellon praised his team for leaving Dingwall with all three points.

“I am delighted with the young boys along with the experienced boys to give us a performance like they did,” he said.

“I see us a club who should be coming to these places and representing us properly and performing well.

“That is the size of the football club and we won’t get carried away but I was chuffed with the young boys.”