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Stuart Kettlewell hits out at referee’s performance after Motherwell draw

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell (Steve Welsh/PA).
Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell (Steve Welsh/PA).

Stuart Kettlewell vented his frustration at the performance of referee Colin Steven in Motherwell’s 1-1 draw with St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

The Steelmen conceded early on when Ryan McGowan’s goal was allowed to stand, despite Andy Considine appearing to be in an offside position.

Well boss Kettlewell admitted he had yet to watch the Saints goal back but said Steven needed to “manage the game better than it was in stages today”.

“What’s concerning me is what is happening during the 90 minutes of play,” Kettlewell said.

“I just feel like we’re continuously getting players booked in scenarios where you see it happening with the opposition but it doesn’t seem to be penalised in the exact same fashion.

“There’s a spell in that first half and everyone can hear the discontent towards the officials – there’s a reason for that.

“I’ve had the same conversation about the same referee earlier in the season in a game against Aberdeen.

“Decisions have to be better. It’s not a personal attack, you have to be able to manage the game better than it was in stages today.

“I’ll reference an incident in the game that I have seen back where Harry Paton is elbowed in the face and the referee plays on.

“We keep talking about trying to make the game better. If we don’t start to protect players with these head injuries then I’m lost for words with where we go next.

“I’m not saying players are going in with the intent, but we seem to just bypass this and start to focus on VAR, offside decisions and all the rest of it. We need to get that bit right before we do anything else.”

Kettlewell was disappointed that his team were unable to find a spark in front of goal to claim a priceless victory over their relegation rivals.

Theo Bair nodded Well level just before the half-hour mark, but they passed up numerous opportunities to complete the turnaround as the game went on.

“There’s disappointment there, I think that anyone watching would say we were the better side,” Kettlewell added.

“We took a bit of a blow conceding a really poor goal. It’s scrappy, the ball is loose and it gets bundled over the line.

“I thought our reaction was excellent, we enjoyed a bit of the ball and had a bit of patience.”

Craig Levein was keen to move on after a below-par showing from his St Johnstone side.

The hosts played out their second 1-1 draw in four days to remain in 10th place, although they have moved three points clear of the relegation play-off place.

“We got off to a good start. Funnily enough Motherwell started better than us before we scored – the goal was a little bit against the run of play I felt,” Levein said.

“Motherwell were the better team early on until we changed the shape a little bit and went to a back four.

“There’s not a lot to talk about in all honesty, it wasn’t great. We worked hard, fought our corner, didn’t play very well and got a point – let’s move on.”