Nick Montgomery admitted finishing in the bottom six is unacceptable for Hibernian after seeing his side surrender a late lead against Motherwell at Fir Park.

Hibs’ prospects looked optimistic as they were set to move one point ahead of Dundee into sixth in the Scottish Premiership as they led Motherwell 1-0 courtesy of Myziane Maolida’s 64th-minute penalty.

But Shane Blaney fired home a thunderous equaliser in the last minute of added time with Motherwell’s first shot on target as both teams saw their top-six hopes came to an end.

The travelling supporters were furious and vented their anger towards the Hibs players and staff at full-time and Montgomery understands their frustrations.

“It’s not good enough for Hibs,” he said.

“You have to earn the right to get anywhere in football. You have to earn the right to get into the top six. As a club we have failed to hit one of our targets and that was the top six.

“The other two were progress in the cups, which we did to a good level. But the big target was to try and get into the top six. I’ve tried everything I can to get there.

“We’ve had stuff that’s probably been challenging for us, but as a club, yeah, we have to look back at the start of the season, before pre-season, and how we’ve ended up in this position where we’re going into the last game 20 seconds away from the top six.

“It’s 20 seconds away from not being good enough and unfortunately the results – last week as well – have gone against us and it’s really hard to explain how that’s happened.”

Motherwell boss Stuart Kettlewell praised the mentality of his side after another late goal salvaged a draw.

And they could even have won it at the death but Oli Shaw fired wide from a few yards out.

“I thought we snatched it at the end,” said Kettlewell. “It’s probably no surprise to myself or anyone in the room as we’ve become renowned this season for playing to the last whistle.

“We want to be ahead in games but we always rally and we have four strikers and two attackers on the pitch at the end – it was all out attack.

“I thought Oli had put the ball in the net, that was my gut instinct, when he got across the front post. But we left it late over the course for the top six but I can only credit my players.

“People had written us off for the top six and looked at us more towards the bottom of the table but we’ve shown brilliant personality and picked up points.”

Dundee United have trolled their next-door neighbours after Dundee blamed climate change for a raft of postponements.

Dundee club secretary Eric Drysdale pointed to the impact of global weather issues after their cinch Premiership encounter with Rangers was postponed on Wednesday night for a second time.

United used their official X account to take a light-hearted dig at their city rivals as they posted photographs of Jim Goodwin and his squad training on their pitch ahead of their cinch Championship encounter with Morton at a sunny Tannadice.

The caption read: “The perfect climate for #MORUTD fine-tuning”, and was followed by a sunshine emoji.

The two clubs’ grounds are about 200 yards apart.

United recently advertised for a new head groundsperson with the previous incumbent, Paul Murray, set to move to Dundee in the summer, with the Premiership club relying on contractors in recent weeks.

Dundee have had five postponements this season due to a waterlogged pitch and Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell claimed parts of the surface were unplayable after his side’s win at Dens Park on Saturday, which only went ahead after a second, late inspection.

Speaking after Wednesday’s postponement, Drysdale pointed to bad luck with home fixtures coinciding with storms.

And he added on Sky Sports News: “I can understand that people are annoyed and are looking at this as being Dundee’s fault.

“What I would say is that, from the research that we’ve done in the last few days, we note that this year’s rainfall is 35 per cent higher than the last 10 years’ average.

“That shows the effects that climate change is having on it and it appears we need to urgently do more work on the Dens Park pitch and we are absolutely up for doing that in the summer.”

Another Dundee-based team had a cheeky dig at the Premiership club, whose ground is sponsored by Scot Foam.

Writing on Facebook ahead of a cup tie at the Riverside playing fields in the city on Wednesday evening, the Tayside Fire Brigade AFC, who play in the Dundee Saturday Morning Football League, said: “Fortunately for us the game is not at the Scot Foam tonight therefore, the game goes ahead.”

A decision on the cinch Premiership clash between Rangers and Dundee has been put back until later on Wednesday.

Referee Don Robertson passed the Dens Park pitch after an 11am inspection, but a further check is planned.

A statement from the home club read: “Following this morning’s scheduled pitch inspection the match referee has decided that the pitch is currently playable.

“However, with rain forecast for later today both clubs and the league have agreed for a further pitch inspection to take place at 3.30pm today.”

The game has already been postponed once – 90 minutes before it was due to kick off last month – and the visiting club called for an early decision.

A statement read: “Rangers has continued to insist that a final decision is made as early as possible for our travelling supporters and fully understands the inconvenience this continues to cause.”

Four games have been postponed at Dens Park already this season and Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell claimed “four or five areas” of the pitch were not playable after his side’s 3-2 win there on Saturday.

That game only went ahead after a second pitch inspection at 1pm with visiting fans already on the road when confirmation came through.

Rangers manager Philippe Clement labelled the uncertainty “crazy” on the eve of the game despite Dundee managing director John Nelms claiming he was as “confident as we can be” that the game would go ahead.

Rangers are looking to go top of the table, while Dundee are aiming to secure a top-six place ahead of the split, which is due to take place after this weekend’s fixtures.

However, a postponement later on Wednesday would delay the publication of the remaining fixtures.

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell admitted his team used the poor Dens pitch to their advantage to secure a vital 3-2 victory over Dundee in the cinch Premiership.

The game only went ahead after two pitch inspections at 11am and 1pm, with Dundee storming into a two-goal lead thanks to Jordan McGhee and Luke McCowan.

However, Motherwell made a dramatic comeback with Georgie Gent, Theo Bair and Moses Ebiye on the mark.

Kettlewell’s men were playing towards the Bob Shankly Stand in the second half and Kettlewell admitted that worked to their advantage.

The manager said: “Did we play on the conditions at that end in the second half? Yeah, that’s something we were taking into account.

“That goalmouth area, there’s a bit 20 yards out that isn’t good so we knew if we could get the ball into that area there’s the potential for slips, bad bounces that might fall in our favour.

“So we spoke about that and aiming towards it.

“Was it playable? When I walked on the pitch there were four or five areas I didn’t think were playable.

“Again I need to be consistent, I’m not going to change now.

“At no point did I speak to anyone or the officials from Dundee, I was prepared to let everyone do their job.

“I didn’t try to have an influence on anyone because we’d prepared to play here at 3pm.

“The referee felt it was playable and we were not endangering the safety of players so it was on.

“I have an opinion on a bigger scale of what I feel about getting to April and dealing with this.”

Dundee boss Tony Docherty admitted the result was a hammer blow for him and his players.

The Dark Blues were on course to secure a top-six finish with St Johnstone beating Hibs until the dramatic late collapse.

However, the manager was irate over the VAR decision that led to the penalty award for Motherwell’s first goal.

The 53-year-old said: “It’s a sore one. We’re really hurting.

“Obviously you don’t know others’ results at the time but we were 14 minutes from the top six.

“Goals change games and they get momentum from the VAR decision. I haven’t seen it back but nobody claims for the penalty.

“We were really comfortable at 2-0 so we should see the game out. Certainly the momentum swings on the VAR decision but I would trust my players to see that out.

“I won’t be critical of them because they have been brilliant all season.

“The one positive to come from the disappointing last 14 minutes is to see the league table and realise we still have an opportunity to do what we need to do.”

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell described Theo Bair’s international call-up as just reward for his hard work and ambition along with the efforts of many others at the club.

Bair has been included in the Canada squad ahead of their CONCACAF Nations League play-off against Trinidad and Tobago on March 23.

The former St Johnstone striker, 24, won his second and most recent cap in 2020 after scoring on his international debut and has been recalled after producing nine goals and three assists in his past 10 cinch Premiership games for Motherwell.

“I know when Theo came here he had a real ambition to back get in that Canadian squad. It’s his just reward, he has been working tirelessly,” said Kettlewell, who has also seen the likes of Liam Kelly, Adam Devine, Lennon Miller, Bevis Mugabi and Davor Zdravkovski get international recognition.

“We are delighted for him and all the lads who have had international call-ups.

“I think he is the most humble person I have ever met. He thinks he has loads to go, as do we.

“When you look into how he is performing, I thought there were so many good qualities early in the season, but you can see how much it evolves when there’s a bit of confidence in there, once he starts hitting the back of the net.

“It’s just fine margins, different types of movement, utilising his frame and his physicality, probably getting him fitter. His work rate is top drawer, he presses from the front.

“It’s taken him time to get there and big Theo will acknowledge that, because he is probably a bit of a baby when you look at the game time he has played.

“He didn’t come here with loads of minutes, 24 years old doesn’t mean you are sitting there with 150-200 appearances. I believe when you have that trust and opportunity to play, that’s when you see the fruits of your labour.

“Now with that level of confidence, you start to see him maybe take part in elements of the game where before he was maybe looking at one of his team-mates.”

Motherwell recently gave an insight into the work they and Bair have been doing behind the scenes to spark his prolific run, including footage of video analysis sessions.

“Ross Clarkson and Graeme McArthur, our two analysts, are absolutely sensational at what they do, the level of detail they go to, but the bit that goes unnoticed is the work ethic,” Kettlewell said. “We feel we have that in the staff in general.

“We have players who go to lengths to get the best out of their career but also all the staff have that same vision and ambition for your career.

“But we need guys who are coachable and want the best out of their career. If we get that we will give them every minute of every day to meet the goals they set themselves but also what we think they can get to.”

Meanwhile Jon Obika has suffered another hamstring injury in training having already had three lay-offs with a similar issue over the past 12 months.

“I don’t have a specific update, we will have him scanned and find out what’s going on,” Kettlewell said.

New signing Moses Ebiye could feature against Aberdeen on Saturday but Kettlewell warned the 26-year-old Nigerian striker had not played a competitive game for some time, having left Norwegian side Aalesund in January.

“He has taken part in every training session and has had minutes on the pitch in a bounce game,” he said. “But I need to manage expectations. I think he can possibly give us something at this stage but it’s very, very early.”

Dan Casey’s stunning second-half goal gave Motherwell a shock 2-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox and handed the initiative in the cinch Premiership title race back to Celtic.

Stuart Kettlewell’s side silenced most of Ibrox in the ninth minute with a goal from striker Theo Bair which left the Light Blues struggling to read an unexpected script.

Gers skipper James Tavernier scored from the spot on the hour after the VAR had intervened but Irish defender Casey restored the visitors’ lead with a close-range finish in the 74th minute for the first Well win in the league in Govan since 1997.

It was a first defeat in 12 games in all competitions for Philippe Clement’s side and although they remain two points clear of their Old Firm rival at the top of the table, Celtic get the chance to leapfrog them against Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday.

Clement’s side had fought back to beat Kilmarnock 2-1 at Rugby Park on Wednesday night, which kept them ahead of the Hoops and it was widely believed that three more points would be garnered against the Steelmen.

Ridvan Yilmaz, Nico Raskin, Dujon Sterling and Cyriel Dessers came back in to the team amid the usual rotation.

Motherwell, with defender Shane Blaney and on-loan Blackburn striker Jack Vale returning, arrived in eighth place fresh from a 3-1 win at bottom side Livingston.

The visitors had the first chance when defender Bevis Mugabi headed a Blair Spittal corner over the bar but they did not miss the second. Vale got past defender John Souttar and cut the ball back for Bair to steer the ball past goalkeeper Jack Butland and in off the post for his sixth goal in nine games.

Dessers headed a Yilmaz past the post and Well keeper Liam Kelly punched a dipping shot from Mohamed Diomande past the post for a corner before Kelly made an even better save from Yilmaz’s swerving shot from distance.

The traffic towards the Motherwell goal was busy but in the 35th minute Spittal had a decent effort saved by Butland, before winger Ross McCausland was replaced by Fabio Silva after failing to shake off the effects of a crunching Casey tackle.

Silva weakly knocked a long pass from Connor Goldson into the arms of a grateful Kelly and Rangers’ best chance of the first-half was gone.

Tom Lawrence replaced Raskin for the start of the second half and within two minutes Dessers had the ball in the Well net from a yard out but the flag was up for an infringement as a clutch of players contested a high ball.

Soon after Spittal’s flick hit the crossbar at the other end, the Govan side were level.

There was a long VAR check for a penalty when Motherwell right-back Stephen O’Donnell tackled Silva inside the box and when referee Alan Muir checked his pitchside monitor and pointed to the spot, Tavernier smashed the ball high past Kelly for his 21st goal of the season.

The home fans roared Rangers on for a winner and Sterling missed the target when set up by John Lundstram.

However, sprightly Motherwell retained more than a hint of danger.

Bair got past Goldson to spring a Motherwell break but hit his pass straight at Souttar, although Casey made no mistake when he headed in Spittal’s deep cross to the back post.

Rangers threw everything forward in the final stages.

Kelly made good saves from Lundstram and Yilmaz and Goldson twice missed the target with headers from six yards and Well defender Paul McGinn cleared off the line.

But Casey’s goal was a blow from which Rangers did not recover and they will need to dig deep when they play the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie against Benfica in Lisbon on Thursday night.

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell was thrilled his players responded to his half-time criticism after watching them come from behind to beat Livingston.

The visitors trailed at the break to Tete Yengi’s third-minute strike but improved in the second 45 minutes after scoring through Sam Nicholson, Blair Spittal and substitute Jack Vale.

The win moves the Steelmen to within three points of the cinch Premiership top six, while Livingston are now seven points adrift at the bottom.

Kettlewell said: “It showed great character coming here. You can see their team was up after the first goal, which was really poor and I was really annoyed at half-time.

“It wasn’t how we passed the ball, it was the fact we all had eyes for the ball. It was a great reaction, the guys got some stick at half-time and the goals were of sheer quality.

“But once we get that organisation behind the ball it worked for us.”

Asked if his team now had their sights on top six, Kettlewell, whose team face Rangers at the weekend, added: “We have to, we won’t get carried away because it’s one victory, one win but we have to set the bar high.

“Simply from my side it’s about the performance, especially the second half. If we can piece together that first half against Celtic then we can put on a real show.

“It needs to be bigger picture. We’ve had so many strong performances since the turn of the year and games we should have won.

“We’ve conceded cheap and soft goals which happened tonight but play like we did in the second half then I think we can compete with most teams.

“That creative flair we have, the ruthless edge to score.

“We’re maybe third or fourth top scorers in the division and that speaks volumes for replacing someone like Kevin van Veen.

“We’ll need that to continue and that can set the bar for where we want to be and where we want to go.”

Livingston made the perfect start but ended the game looking like a team that were heading for relegation.

Manager Davie Martindale admits his side looked vulnerable after Motherwell equalised in the 49th minute through Nicholson.

He said: “Of course it’s confidence. That group at the start went to Easter Road (against Hibs), good value, shape and discipline.

“Now we look a million miles away from that and it’s down to belief.

“First half we gave up a wee bit of territory but that was part of the game plan.

“It probably gave them a wee bit more than I’d hoped. I thought we looked a threat on the counter.

“Shamal George didn’t have a lot to do then we go out and lose an early goal, a cheap goal.

“The game became very difficult for the players, position, form, eats into that.”

Motherwell supporters are set to be given some major decisions to make following several proposals to invest in the fan-owned club.

Outgoing chairman Jim McMahon revealed at Motherwell’s annual general meeting on Wednesday night that they had received “four or five serious approaches” following a recent announcement that the club were open to investment.

Talks with two of those interested parties – one American and one multi-national – have “progressed rapidly” but both would result in significant dilution of the Well Society’s 71 per cent stake.

With the interested parties keen to push forward, Well Society members are set to be consulted given at least one of the proposals would reduce their shareholding below 50 per cent, while members have been promised the final say on whether to accept a concrete offer.

The Well Society was set up in 2011 and assumed a majority stake five years later. It has close to 4,000 members, who have already invested £1million in the club, mostly in the form of a loan, while about £750,000 is in a reserve fund.

The news came on the backdrop of financial results which showed the club made a £1.6million loss last season.

McMahon claimed the loss was “fully anticipated, managed and primarily the result of various long-term strategic decisions made by the club in recent years”. The club have invested heavily in Fir Park, including a new £1.2million hybrid pitch, new PA and CCTV systems among other projects.

Turnover was £6.4million, an increase of more than £800,000, the majority of which can be attributed to a rise in income from UEFA.

Staff costs last season were £5.1m, down slightly on the previous campaign. The first-team player budget fell by £340,000, mainly because of a reduction in bonuses, while other staff costs increased by £184,000, partly because of compensation costs to departed managers Graham Alexander and Steven Hammell and their assistants.

As a comparison, fan-owned St Mirren spent £4.3million on their staff costs last season after reaching the top six of the cinch Premiership.

Motherwell have spent significantly more on wages than the likes of St Mirren and Kilmarnock since becoming fan owned but McMahon and interim chief executive Derek Weir have both talked about a funding gap in recent months and the challenge of competing with the likes of Hearts and Hibernian, who have benefited from external funds.

The club had £1.75million cash on May 31 last year, down from more than £4million from 12 months earlier. They expect to have at least £500,000 in the bank at the end of the current financial year but say they have had a profitable season this time round.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that manager Stuart Kettlewell has a contract until the end of next season.

It was widely believed that Kettlewell’s contract was due to expire in the summer as Motherwell had declared his deal was “initially to May 2024” when he was appointed exactly 12 months ago. However, a one-year extension was triggered when Motherwell avoided relegation last season.

The club’s recruitment of a new chief executive is ongoing with Weir scheduled to depart in five weeks. McMahon steps down at the end of the season and another director, Andrew Wilson, has now resigned.

Both managers felt Motherwell could have scored more in their 5-0 victory over Ross County.

Blair Spittal hit two brilliantly-taken goals and both Andy Halliday and Jack Vale netted their first goals for the club, while Theo Bair converted a penalty to make it six goals in five cinch Premiership games.

But Bair also had three one-one-ones, being denied twice by George Wickens and chipping just wide, and County’s two centre-backs were consistently exposed.

After his side moved a point off the top six after just a second win in 20 league games, Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell said: “It’s a top-drawer performance. To beat any team in this league 5-0, you’re playing well.

“I felt you saw what was an accumulation of what I feel has been some good performances. Sometimes you feel as if you’re patronising supporters and people in the media but I genuinely do believe we were working towards a win.

“We have been functioning well as a team, six unbeaten now, and that puts a nice finish to it with the five goals. But probably the ruthless side of me says that it could and should have been several more. We had some wonderful opportunities.

“The ruthless side of me says that we still want to work towards a better conversion rate but I have just reminded everyone it’s one game of football.”

Ross County have now collected only two points from eight games since beating Motherwell two months ago and fell six points behind their opponents.

Manager Derek Adams said: “Motherwell were the better side, obviously, scored goals and could have scored a lot more.”

Adams blamed “decision-making on and off the ball” for the heavy scoreline.

“We didn’t deal well enough with the runners,” he added. “It’s the basics of defending, isn’t it? Seeing your man in front of you. As soon as your man is in front of you then you’ve got a problem.

“The Motherwell attacker was on our shoulder a number of times and was able to get in behind. They had some good runs in behind and I thought they were excellent. They picked us off and scored five.

“Our goalkeeper, George Wickens, was very good and kept us in the game.”

Adams admitted getting out of the bottom two would be an uphill task.

“It’s very difficult because we’re five points adrift now,” he said.

“Well, we’re in the same position as we were when I came into the football club 11 games ago.

“Motherwell have had two wins in 20 games, we have had two wins in 11 games. That tells its own story. The problems are continuing.”

Stuart Kettlewell stressed there is plenty of room for improvement despite Motherwell overcoming a spirited display from Alloa to reach the last-16 of the Scottish Cup.

The Steelmen made the perfect start when Blair Spittal fired them ahead inside the opening minute, though Conor Sammon would stun the home crowd by levelling just before the half-hour mark.

There was a nervousness around Fir Park, though Georgie Gent’s slammed home on the hour-mark before Spittal added his second with a sublime free-kick in the closing minutes to secure victory.

“The most important thing is that we are into the hat for the next round,” Kettlewell said.

“What we often do is look at results around the country and we can see how difficult this round of the cup can be.

“A lot of people want to create an upset and the biggest thing for us was that it wasn’t here.

“I wasn’t happy with a lot of aspects of the game if I’m being honest, I think we have to sharpen a lot of our senses in how we play both in possession and out of possession.”

The Well boss was delighted at the impact of Spittal, who played an integral part in hauling his threadbare team into the next round.

Motherwell named seven academy graduates on their substitutes bench – a consequence of losing a number of key players during the winter break.

“The three goals we score are of real quality, it possibly could have been a hat-trick for Blair Spittal,” he added.

“He’ll be disappointed its not three, it’s a good save from the goalkeeper but Blair shows quality in the first minute and then shows it again towards the end.

“He’s probably the guy in my opinion that flies under the radar because he’s so consistent and so versatile.

“I think everyone can see by the nature of the squad I have at this minute that I rely on his versatility but also rely along with everyone else on the quality he showed again today.”

Alloa boss Andy Graham believes his team can hold their heads up high after competing with the Premiership opponents for long spells.

The League One side would run out of steam as the second half progressed, though caused some nervy moments for the hosts.

“The first half was really pleasing. To lose a goal against a Premiership team so early, the response to that was brilliant,” he said.

“We really grew into the game after that and deserved to be level.

“We believed we could win the game but fair play to Motherwell, their quality showed in the end.”

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell has stressed the club’s search for investment is part of a natural drive to improve.

Chairman Jim McMahon this week announced he would step down by the end of the season and claimed the club needed “significant investment” to retain a “competitive player budget”.

Interim chief executive Derek Weir is also aiming to make way for a permanent successor by the end of March.

The board will soon unveil plans for a fund-raising initiative which they have been working on for at least two years, but the fan-owned club had never previously publicly announced their intentions.

“I think we can dramatise things,” said Kettlewell, whose team host Rangers on Christmas Eve as they search for a first win in 15 matches.

“The clearest way I can put it is this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction. I can stress from my point of view, this is only being done to see if we can move forward.

“All the add-ons about significant investment, I have read one or two stories this week about other clubs, we are all trying to improve, we are all looking for that bit more money to strive forward. It’s no different at Motherwell Football Club. That will have been a mindset for several years at this club.”

McMahon’s comments will have come as a shock to many, especially as the club received what they described as a “transformational” £3.25million fee from Celtic for David Turnbull in 2020 along with other sizeable transfer income and a £3m Covid recovery loan from the Scottish Government.

Motherwell have spent significantly more on staff costs than comparable cinch Premiership clubs – about £6m more than Kilmarnock for example during the first six seasons under fan ownership. In the 2021-22 season, their staff costs were £5.2m compared to Killie’s £3.4m and the club made a loss of about £1m.

Kettlewell and Weir worked on reducing the player budget over the summer.

“We have been really prudent, we have tried to get things to what we feel is a manageable situation,” Kettlewell said.

“Within that there’s been a dramatic reduction in numbers of players. When you have 18 or whatever senior players and you have three, four, five injuries, it brings its challenges.

“But the most important part is – and I do go hard on this – that we have to move forward now. We can’t stumble across what’s next and guess what comes next. We need to be proactive as a football club.

“Quite clearly we see there has to be a slight change of direction, a slight change of thought process.

“Times change, the cost of living changes, so to be sitting with the same or a less budget as things stand can be a challenge, because football players cost more now, the running of the stadium, the pitch, the training facilities, the academy, all these things cost lots of money.

“We have to make sure we can run all these things but also that we can try and invest and get the best playing squad possible to us.

“So that proactive thinking sometimes has to be that you think outside your box and look for slightly different alternatives, whether there can be some sort of external investment that can nudge things along the way, whether there’s other people that want to help and be involved in the football club that can make us a better version.”

Kettlewell still has a “little bit of scope” in the January transfer window.

“That can alter, I can’t tell you exactly how many that’s going to be,” he added. “What it looks like we might be able to do is bring in one or potentially two. I am not in a position where we want to be losing players.”

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell expressed his “shame” after a 3-0 defeat against former club Ross County.

Kettlewell held his hands up in apology to the 94 travelling fans who braved the wintry conditions to witness their side go 12 cinch Premiership games without a victory.

Simon Murray headed County in front from a corner inside two minutes as Well lost the first goal for the 11th time in their barren run.

Yan Dhanda curled home from 22 yards inside 18 minutes and Ben Purrington knocked home a rebound in the second half as a static Motherwell defence was beaten again.

Kettlewell, who saw Calum Butcher and Dan Casey pick up injuries, the latter a serious one, said: “Everyone knows how difficult that road can be in winter and how far away it is and we had a group of fans who came up here to support the team in the hope we’d put on a performance, and it was miles away from what it has to be when people spend that cash and time to come up here.

“And there’s a bit of shame in that when you see people travelling up here and that’s the level they get.

“I feel very, very sorry for the supporters that came here because, having seen it, the better decision would be to stay in the house.

“The level of performance was so far removed from where it needs to be to be competitive in this league.

“Then add in the injuries to Butcher and Casey, when you piece all that together along with the troubles and difficult run we’re on, that makes it the toughest ever game for me to watch.”

Motherwell have only collected four points out of a possible 36.

Kettlewell said: “You have to scrap and fight your way out of it and I didn’t see an awful lot of that in the first 45 minutes in particular. You can see the dent it has conceding that early goal.

“So much of it becomes that mentality, a little bit of fear coming in and people maybe not looking for the ball.

“You have to have belief in yourself, envisage there’s a way out of it and trust in the guys around about you to make sure that happens.

“My greatest frustration is I’m dealing with a group of players who have shown that in spade loads during my time at the club and for whatever reason at this minute in time it’s coming up seriously short.”

Casey was carried off on a stretcher after the final whistle.

“It looks a real bad one,” Kettlewell said.

“He has a brace in his leg and it looks like he is heading to hospital. I think he said he felt some sort of crack in his leg.”

County made it seven points and three clean sheets from three matches since Derek Adams returned as manager.

Adams, who saw Will Nightingale sent off in stoppage time, said: “The confidence is there – we played on the front foot – and I thought defensively we were good.

“We stepped forward with the ball and created some really good movements in the game. We were unfortunate not to score more.”

Derek Adams continued an impressive start to his third Ross County reign as a 3-0 victory over Motherwell left his former player Stuart Kettlewell under increasing pressure.

County have now taken seven points from three games without conceding a goal since Adams returned from Morecambe to replace Malky Mackay.

Former County player and manager Kettlewell has seen his extended honeymoon period in charge at Fir Park thoroughly collapse. Well have now gone 12 cinch Premiership games without a win and taken just four points in that run, which hit a new low in Dingwall.

The Steelmen conceded the opening goal for the 11th time in those 12 games when Simon Murray headed home from a second-minute corner.

They had an even bigger task facing them inside 18 minutes when Yan Dhanda curled home an excellent finish from 22 yards.

Ben Purrington netted from the rebound in the second half to round off County’s first win over their visitors in seven attempts.

County were unchanged from last Tuesday’s win over St Mirren while Kettlewell had Callum Slattery back from suspension and also brought in Theo Bair and Conor Wilkinson, the latter starting in an advanced midfield role.

The Staggies took the lead when Murray met James Brown’s inswinging delivery at the near post and glanced home his 11th goal of the season. Blair Spittal claimed he had been pushed from behind by Murray, but there was a relatively short delay before the game restarted.

It was the seventh time in as many games that a corner had directly or indirectly led to a goal against Motherwell.

Well initially threatened a comeback. Bair came close from 20 yards and Ross Laidlaw made a good double stop from Slattery and Stephen O’Donnell.

But County doubled their lead when Dhanda collected the ball, drifted inside of Wilkinson and had time to whip the ball inside far post.

It could have got worse for the visitors before half-time. Murray saw a shot deflected off the post from 20 yards and headed just over from another corner. A slick passing move then cut Mothewell open but Connor Randall shot straight at Liam Kelly.

Kettlewell made three substitutions at the break as Georgie Gent, Davor Zdravkovski and Calum Butcher came on.

But it was too easy for the hosts as they went further ahead in the 56th minute. Dhanda crossed after a good passing interchange, Jordan White’s free header was only parried by Kelly and Purrington was free to knock home the rebound.

The flag went up for offside, but it looked a straightforward decision to overturn in the VAR centre.

Motherwell showed some signs of a response. Gent had a header tipped over and Mika Biereth flicked a good chance wide before seeing an effort cleared off the line by Jack Baldwin.

But the hosts could also have added to their lead with Victor Loturi and Simon Murray coming close.

The only down side for County was a stoppage-time red card for Will Nightingale, who received two quickfire yellow cards.

Motherwell’s misery was compounded by a serious injury in stoppage time for defender Dan Casey, who was carried off the pitch on a stretcher after his team-mates had gone down the tunnel.

Substitute Conor Wilkinson’s stoppage-time strike snatched 10-man Motherwell a 3-3 draw at home to Dundee.

Stuart Kettlewell’s side went in front through Mika Biereth only for the visitors to hit back through first-half goals from Lyall Cameron and Owen Beck.

Bevis Mugabi drew Motherwell level midway through the second half before Harry Paton was shown a straight red card for serious foul play.

Dundee took advantage of the extra man when Zach Robinson scored with two minutes remaining, only for Well to hit back in time added on to claim a point.

The result stretches Motherwell’s winless sequence to 11 matches, while Dundee still move back into the top half of the table despite the concession of that late equaliser.

The home side went in front with the first real chance of the game after seven minutes. Blair Spittal’s effort was blocked but fell to Biereth and the Arsenal loanee’s driven effort hit both posts before landing in the net. It was the first time Kettlewell’s side had taken the lead for three months.

Motherwell were then suckered when Dundee equalised with their first chance of the match.

The home side had two attempts to clear a corner but could not, with the ball eventually looping through to Cameron who headed past Liam Kelly.

Just four minutes later and Dundee were ahead. It was a moment of magic from Beck, the on-loan Liverpool full-back showing great composure after taking a pass from Zak Rudden then finishing neatly.

Motherwell had the first real chance of the second half. Paton found Jon Obika and his left-foot shot slid beyond the far post when a pass to Biereth might have been the better option.

Mugabi then tried his luck from distance, with the defender’s 30-yard effort touched over by Trevor Carson.

But the same player would not be denied just moments later as Motherwell drew level, getting the final touch on Spittal’s cross to glance a header past Carson.

This was referee Iain Snedden’s first Premiership match and he was called to the screen shortly after that goal by VAR Nick Walsh. The official had a look at the footage and showed a red card to Paton for a high tackle on Luke McCowan.

Wilkinson then had a great chance to put the home side back in front but blazed his shot high over the crossbar.

That looked to be costly when Robinson, just minutes after coming off the bench, finished low into the corner but Wilkinson made amends by firing past Carson.

Stuart Kettlewell admitted to having mixed emotions after his side mounted an incredible late fightback to claim a share of the spoils in a 3-3 cinch Premiership draw against his former club Ross County.

The Steelmen trailed 3-1 with two minutes remaining but fought back thanks to goals from substitutes Conor Wilkinson and Luca Ross.

“It probably descended into utter chaos is my honest answer to it,” Kettlewell said.

“I thought Ross County were the better team in the first 10-15 minutes then I thought we got on top. We had territorial advantage, we had more of the ball and played the game in their half of the pitch.

“We started the second half like that and then began to sort of shoot ourselves in the foot if I’m being honest with you.”

After an uneventful first half, the game would burst into life as goals from Eamonn Brophy and Simon Murray had County in control.

Mike Biereth came off the bench to get a goal back for the home side, though any hopes of an unlikely comeback seemed to have disappeared when Victor Loturi added a third after 82 minutes.

With two minutes left on the clock, Wilkinson restored some hope for Motherwell following a good finish and Ross would scramble home in the fifth minute of added time to send Fir Park wild.

Kettlewell added: “Our organisation again, two goals start from throw-ins, which again we need to be better at.

“I probably take exception to the first goal if I’m being honest with you, just in terms of Victor Loturi takes a touch and it sort of comes off his hand. It then deviates into the path of Kyle Turner.

“My understanding is, if that then leads to a goal, then it quite clearly has had an impact.

“The fourth official’s reasoning was that he didn’t score the goal, so it’s not the case – I was a little bit surprised by that.”

Despite his frustration in the manner of which his team conceded, Kettlewell was thrilled with the resilience shown in them battling back to grab a point.

Motherwell looked set to fall to their fifth-straight Premiership defeat before rescuing the game in the dying stages.

“I think the reaction of the players is pretty stunning again to be honest with you,” he added.

“Being 3-1 down with seven or eight minutes to go, to come back and get that point and to have our substitutes score all three goals.

“I think that puts us in a slightly better place than what we would of been of course, but there’s a lot of frustrations there for me.

“It showed that we have that little bit more strength in depth and more options than I’ve had all season off the bench – fortunately three substitutes come on and have a real good impact for us.”

Malky Mackay was gutted after seeing his side throw away their lead late on at Fir Park but insisted he was still proud of the performance of his players.

“Overall it’s two points dropped, I’m disappointed with the fact we allowed them a sniff of getting back into it again,” he said.

“I suppose reflecting on the whole game, we knew it was going to be a tough game coming down here.

“Motherwell are getting a lot of plaudits, they are sitting well in the league and they’ve done well.

“To come to Motherwell, score three and play the way we did. Murray’s goal is top class – I don’t know how many passes it turned into before the ball went into the net.

“To go and play the way we did against them at times – really dominate the ball – is something I’m proud of.”

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