'Bizarre' Dundee situation doesn't affect Motherwell's mindset

Stuart Kettlewell says his side's target is crystal clear ahead of facing Hibs.

Motherwell boss Stuart Kettlewell says he would understand others being upset about how Dundee’s match being postponed affects the battle for the top six – but it doesn’t affect what he and his players need to do.

The Steelmen host Hibs on Saturday knowing that their slim chances of making the top six depend on them taking three points, while hoping that Dundee lose both of their remaining games.

The Dens Park club were meant to play their game in hand against Rangers on Wednesday, but that match was postponed because of the ongoing issues with their pitch.

It’s been rescheduled for next week, meaning Dundee could be going into that game knowing exactly what they need to make the top half of the Premiership.

That’s led to questions about sporting integrity, and it has been reported that Hibernian, who sit a point behind Dundee in the table, are unhappy with the situation.

Kettlewell said the situation was “bizarre” but said that the ‘win-or-bust’ nature of his own side’s position made it easier for him to look at it with clarity.

“It doesn’t change my mindset in any way, shape or form because the only outcome that we have a chance in is by trying to win a game of football,” he said.

“From my side of it, it’s really simple and really clear.

“The split and top and bottom six might not be confirmed on Saturday, which for me is really bizarre and something we’ve not seen before. But if you asked Nick Montgomery at Hibs it might be different from him because there’s different mindsets for managers. It’s not for me to speak for him but there’s different scenarios that may come about.

“If I relate it to my team and my club, it’s really simple. The only chance we have is to win the game and have that favour [from other games].

“I have strong views on everything that’s happened and everybody has heard that over the last week or so.”

The Motherwell boss was critical of Dundee after their match at Dens on Saturday, where the match was in serious doubt because of the condition of the pitch amidst heavy rainfall and only went ahead after two pitch inspections.

“I think everyone will have seen what I said on Saturday and I stand by what I said,” he said. “Our chief executive Brian Caldwell said his piece and the club has said their piece.

“We now have to park that and focus on what’s next on the agenda for us.

“I would completely understand if that is the mindset from Hibs because there are different connotations and scenarios of what could come.

“From their manager’s point of view, sometimes that affects substitutions or what you do in a game. Would a point be enough? Would a win do it for you? I’m sure Nick Montgomery will be bringing Hibs here to win a game of football but there’s elements that can happen within a game than can change a manager’s mindset. I would understand those questions of, do you call it sporting integrity or simply just a manager’s mindset or gameplan.

“But I’m being really clear that it doesn’t impact me whatsoever. I know what my task is and the players know their task and the only way we can give ourselves a chances is by picking up three points. And even that might still not be enough but it’s what we need to centre around.”

The second-half comeback to defeat Dundee opened up a possibility for a positive climax to what’s been an uneven season for Kettlewell and his players, and he was happy just to have that possibility.

“In terms of having one game to have a chance of getting into the top six, there was a stage when I would have bitten your hand off for that and I think most Motherwell supporters would be the same,” he said.

“It’s a game to look forward to against a very good side. I’ve watched the way Nick Montgomery has been able to tweak and change things at Hibs. They’re very good in possession and they carry a lot of pace and a lot of threat throughout their team.

“I know people will say they have underachieved with the resources that they have, and that’s possibly the case, but in my opinion they are a very good side and they’re getting better.”

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