Advertisement

Motherwell 5-0 Ross County: Stuart Kettlewell's side record big Scottish Premiership win

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell says he was "disappointed" his side did not score more goals despite an "outstanding" demolition of fellow Scottish Premiership strugglers Ross County.

In an utterly dominant display, Motherwell scored three times, had one goal disallowed, and Theo Bair also missed two glorious chances when through on goal - all before half time.

Andy Halliday started the scoring by steering home Bair's cross after a clever leave by Blair Spittal, who then curled a wonderful second in off a post.

Bair then buried a penalty to make it 3-0 after Harry Paton was felled by County defender Will Nightingale.

Derek Adams' side were in complete disarray as Motherwell constantly got in behind them and picked them apart, and they barely improved after the break.

Instead Motherwell had more chances to add to the scoreline even before Spittal curled in one of the goals of the season from distance and debutant Jack Vale slid in a fifth to wrap up a fantastic victory in the final five minutes.

It moves Motherwell above St Johnstone and Aberdeen into eighth, while Adams' toiling side stay 11th and are without a win in eight league matches.

"There is an element of frustration that it wasn't more," Kettlewell told BBC Scotland. "Some of the other chances we created and missed really were gilt-edged.

"So if you add the quality of the five goals we scored and the five or six gilt-edged chances, there is a bit of disappointment it wasn't more. But that's the perfectionist in me.

"I need to highlight how good the team were tonight - they were outstanding."

Player of the match - Blair Spittal (Motherwell)

Motherwell blow away disorganised County - analysis

Kettlewell has been content with performances of late, but said his side were missing a bit "extra" to get over the line after drawing their last three. Boy did his players deliver more for him here.

Albeit helped by a disorganised County side, Halliday, Spittal, Paton and Bair were outstanding. They put pressure on the visitors, playing with speed and intensity.

Bair looks a player transformed from the unconvincing striker at St Johnstone last season, emphatically netting his sixth goal in five league games from the spot.

However, he twice took too long to finish when clean through and gave George Wickens the chance to close him down and make two saves.

The Canadian had six shots overall, so he has plenty of improvement still to do. But generally he was everywhere. Spittal put in one of the best individual performances of the season against his former club, too.

It is almost a year since Kettlewell took charge, with the first half of that tenure a picture of consistency. The second half - not helped by injuries - has been a bit of a toil.

But this win, only Motherwell's second in the Premiership since the start of September, could be huge.

County look in trouble. Since Adams' withering comments about his own side, they have not won a match. It looks as though, conscious of his comments about the poor product, he is trying to make County more expansive.

But this game followed a recent pattern they have shown of being far too open and easy to exploit. On top of that, they have failed to score in seven of their last nine matches.

They are six points clear of bottom side Livingston, with a game in hand. But they are losing momentum fast, and questions will linger about whether Adams has the backing of his players after his much-discussed interviews.

What they said

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell: "People might think I'm a broken record by talking about the level of performance recently but I genuinely felt it was building to a win.

"We had a real assurance in not conceding and the clean sheet is as much of a bonus as anything. We've had a lot of criticism and been battered a little bit with stats and numbers, and I take that.

"But what tonight showed is how together we are."

Ross County manager Derek Adams: "The scoreline doesn't flatter Motherwell in any way. It is not good enough, the players are trying but the quality they had has not been good enough and that is why the scoreline was what it was.

"We are in the same position now as when I took over and it is really difficult. From my point of view we have had opportunities to win games but we have not had enough quality to see it over the line."

What's next?

It's Scottish Cup fifth-round weekend next and Motherwell visit Championship side Greenock Morton on Friday, which you can watch live on the BBC Sport website and app (19:45 GMT).

County are out of the cup and return to league action against Rangers at Ibrox next Wednesday (19:45).