Ross County: Stuart Kettlewell wanted Steve Ferguson to remain as co-manager

Steve Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell
Steve Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell won County promotion and kept them in the top flight

Sacked Stuart Kettlewell says it was not his or Steve Ferguson's choice to break up the co-management arrangement he thinks brought Ross County success.

The pair led the Dingwall side to the Scottish Championship title then a 10th-place finish in the top flight.

But Ferguson was appointed chief executive in June and Kettlewell was sacked in December with County bottom.

"Obviously the chairman felt at the time he wanted to change the structure of the football club," he said.

"If we were to pick ourselves then I don't think that's quite the route we'd have gone down at that time and potentially he knows that. I don't want to criticise decisions that were made, but I thoroughly enjoyed that co-management role - it seemed to work for us."

His future uncertain, Kettlewell knows one thing - it will not be in Dingwall, despite a "loose discussion" with chairman Roy McGregor at the time of his sacking.

"I've spoken to him since, but probably, from my point of view, for a number of reasons, I don't think it's going to be the right thing for me at this minute," the 36-year-old told BBC Scotland.

"You look at academy football in this country and I don't think any of us know where that's going to go at the minute. We are in the middle of a lockdown and when are kids going to be back playing football?"

Former Queen's Park and Clyde midfielder Kettlewell was with County as a player and youth coach before he and then academy director Ferguson took over from Owen Coyle in 2018.

"It's a difficult one - I'm based up here and have been for the past 11 years," he said. "So we've been talking in the last week or so about possibly moving back down to the central belt.

"Maybe it's time to move on and get a fresh challenge and go down a different avenue."

Kettlewell realises that "results weren't good enough", is not bitter about his sacking as there were "probably things I could do better" and is pleased to see results improve under successor John Hughes.

"I am pretty young and would say I'm in my infancy not just in managing but coaching at 36, but I would say I've got a lot of experience behind me for being that age," he added.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed the responsibility of leading a team, or working at an academy where you're driving a strategy, and I don't have such an ego where I think that has to be at a particular level, or at a particular club."

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