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Stuart Kettlewell wants to avoid forfeit punishments for Covid postponements

Celtic v Ross County – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

Ross County boss Stuart Kettlewell has rejected calls for clubs to forfeit Premiership points if they are hit by a Covid outbreak, insisting no-one is playing games with the pandemic.

Motherwell saw their second league fixture in a row called off on Saturday when St Mirren announced they could not raise a team following a third positive coronavirus test.

Well face going nearly a month without a league game and Fir Park coach Maurice Ross has claimed the current rules – where games are merely postponed and an SPFL investigation launched – are open to abuse by teams who may want to delay a fixture because of injuries.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, the former Rangers defender said: “I think there needs to be a law change. If you can’t fulfil a fixture, tough, three points.”

But dad-to-be Kettlewell – whose wife is due to give birth in the coming days – hit back at Ross, insisting all Scottish clubs are doing their best to stave off the virus’ threat.

The Staggies boss said: “That would be exceptionally harsh. I don’t think there’s any club in Scotland who’s actively trying to catch a deadly virus.

“We did have a few setbacks in the early weeks but Scottish football in general has learned a lot of lessons from that.

“We speak about us all having wives who work and kids at school, so there’s any number of ways that the virus can be passed about.

“We talk to our players about avoiding situations like coffee shops or the high street where you can’t control your social distancing or who you’re surrounded by.

“I have my own situation where I’m on red alert for my wife. She’s due to give birth so we’re trying to manage our other kids so they’re not in contact with anyone who has the virus for obvious reasons.

“So we are all thinking about it and hopefully it doesn’t happen but if anybody at Ross County comes down with it, it’s certainly not going to be through us not following the rules.

“There really does need to be some common sense. The deduction of points could have a massive impact on people’s seasons and livelihoods come the end of the season.”

Meanwhile, Kettlewell insists he has no issue with his side’s disciplinary record.

Connor Randall became the third County player to be sent off this season during Saturday’s goalless Hibs stalemate, meaning the Dingwall outfit have collected more yellow and red cards than any other top-flight team this term.

“I’ve spoken to the players to say we can’t afford to keep going down to 10 men,” said Kettelwell, who was handed a three-game ban of his own this month for comments made about referee John Beaton.

“We’ve conceded a number of penalties as well which has had a big bearing on games too.

“But I want my team to be a reflection of me and how I was as a player.

“I’m a combative person, I was a player who picked up more yellow and reds than most. I’m not encouraging that but I still want my team to be competitive. I don’t want us to roll over and get our belly tickled.

“However, we have to be more intelligent about it.

“The situation with Connor on Saturday was completely avoidable. But we haven’t had examples where our guys are punching people off the ball so I don’t think that kind of disciplinary issue is a problem.

“There’s been nothing stupid in there – apart from myself obviously.”