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Tommy Wright’s Scottish Premiership preview: Ross County boss Stuart Kettlewell gets a chance to be his own man

© Ross MacDonald / SNS GroupStuart Kettlewell
Stuart Kettlewell

It will be a new-look Ross County that competes in the Premiership campaign – on and off the pitch.

An internal restructuring a few weeks into lockdown saw the dissolution of the Staggies’ management double act which had been in place for the previous two-and-a-half years.

Steven Ferguson left his post as co-manager with Stuart Kettlewell to become the Dingwall club’s new chief executive.

Kettlewell became manager in his own right, with coach, Richie Brittain, stepping up to become his assistant, and Don Cowie given a role as first-team coach.

For Tommy Wright, it is a shake-up that should suit all concerned.

“I was never really sure how the partnership worked, and who made the decisions – but it seemed to do well,” he said.

“Now they have had a change of structure, and we can be sure a lot of careful thought will have gone into it.

“I think the key, as far as anyone looking in is concerned, is that Steven moving upstairs leaves Stuart as his own man.

“That will be a change for him, but he knows the club and the environment and he knows what is expected.

“For Ross County, staying in the top league is always going to be a massive thing – especially in this environment.

“Beyond that, the hope will be top six. Reaching that goal would be an unbelievable season.”

Both men have been busy.

Ferguson trumpeted an increase in season-ticket sales from this time last year, which is remarkable given the campaign is starting behind closed doors.

Kettlewell, for his part, has been working hard in the transfer market.

“They were losing a few (skipper Marcus Fraser, Richard Foster and Sean Kelly head the departure list), so there were always going to be others coming in,” said Wright.

“Stuart has got a mix, but the arrivals of Carl Tremarco, a former captain of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, and Connor Randall, who will know the league from his time at Hearts, adds experience.

“Stephen Kelly is also in on loan from Rangers after a similar spell out with Ayr United.”