Ross County: Stuart Kettlewell determined to bounce back after relegation

Stuart Kettlewell and Michael Gardyne
Stuart Kettlewell tries to comfort Michael Gardyne at full time in Perth

Stuart Kettlewell insists Ross County will come out fighting next season after suffering relegation from the Scottish Premiership.

The Staggies' fate was sealed thanks to their 1-1 draw at St Johnstone and Partick Thistle's 1-0 win at Dundee.

"We're hugely disappointed and there is absolutely nothing I can say or do just now that's going to make the situation better," co-manager Kettlewell said.

"We just have to front it up and we will do."

Craig Curran's early goal in Perth gave the Staggies hope but when Kris Doolan scored for Thistle at Dens Park, County were relying on Dundee doing them a favour.

That was not forthcoming and David Wotherspoon's stoppage-time strike had no real bearing on events for the visitors, who were relegated by the result on Tayside anyway.

County, who started the season with Jim McIntyre in charge, won only six games all season, with Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson taking over in April following the departure of Owen Coyle, and that record ensured an end to their six-season stay in the top flight.

Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson
Kettlewell and Ferguson will look to bring Ross County back to the Premiership next term

"You've either got to get enough points to put yourself in a position where you're challenging for something, or as the case was for ourselves, that you're not in the relegation battle," said Kettlewell. "We've not been able to do that and the emotion is a bit raw at the moment.

"Steven and myself are tasked with taking the team forward and we've got to think about how we're going to do that and how we can make the club bounce back as soon as possible.

"We can't let this fester as a club - it's been a fantastic journey that I've been part of as a player, coach and now manager for the last six or so years in the top flight. It's been a bit of a fairytale but what we now need to do is go and create our own bit of history.

"With the fantastic backing of the chairman, which is well documented, we look to see if we can build a plan going forward for this team.

"Winning six games over the course of a season is going to end up with the inevitable, which has been the outcome, and we have to go away and deal with that, strip things down and see how we can make it better - and the two of us are adamant we will do that.

"Steven and myself take the responsibility for the period of time we've been in charge and we will come back fighting, with every ounce of energy and commitment we have got."

Kettlewell also believes facing up to relegation can have a positive impact in the long term.

"We will draw on the experiences of the last 10 games and it will make us better people, and we hope the guys that will be in our group next season, it will help them as well," he added.

"I've experienced a relegation as a player and I learned more from that than I did winning any other trophy or any other success I've had in my career. People don't want to hear that just now but that's an element of it."

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