Stuart Kettlewell backs Harry Paton to flourish after dramatic winner

Paton's 98th minute strike earned a win over Kilmarnock.

Stuart Kettlewell backs Harry Paton to flourish after dramatic late winner SNS Group

Stuart Kettlewell believes it is now time for Harry Paton to flourish after the midfielder played a crucial role in extending Motherwell’s unbeaten start in the cinch Premiership.

Paton netted the winner in the eighth minute of injury time as the Steelmen recovered from a goal down to defeat Kilmarnock 2-1 at Fir Park.

After being introduced at half time, the Canadian was instrumental in turning the game for Kettlewell’s side.

Dan Casey slammed home a leveller just before the hour mark, before Paton weaved past two defenders and calmly finished to send the home fans wild with the final kick of the ball.

“I’m absolutely delighted, when you look at Harry over the last 18 months to two years – it has been really stop-start for him,” Kettlewell said.

“I worked with him at Ross County, he’s a lad I know really well.

“I believe in him, I know how good a player he is – but what he needs is a platform to go show it.

“He’s had a long period of time out the game, I was delighted to get him back in the squad.

“45 minutes was a bit of a stretch for him to be honest, though I was just delighted he was able to cap off what was a brilliant second half with his goal – hopefully he can now go on to flourish and show everyone what he’s about.

“It is a real good foundation for him personally to build on and I think just the collective in the dressing room – our players were delighted for him as I think they know it has been a tough period for him.”

The Motherwell boss expects to be without the services of Conor Wilkinson for an extended period of time – adding further misery to what is an extensive injury list.

Kettlewell currently has only one fully fit striker in Theo Bair and he admits that his side are facing real challenges due to their lack of options.

“We’ve had a scan and it then starts to look like a four to six week injury,” he added.

“It’s a tough spot to be in as I keep saying and it probably adds a bit to the result against Kilmarnock as we showed a great deal of resilience in adversity.

“Seeing that many forward players becoming injured and for that length of time in the one swoop is a hard one to take.”

Kilmarnock boss Derek McInnes took the positives from defeat.

The Rugby Park side have enjoyed a brilliant start to the season, registering victories over both Celtic and Rangers, but suffered their first loss of the new campaign at Fir Park.

“It was the belt in the mouth that we are always trying to avoid,” McInnes said.

“Everybody knows that in football it’s just around the corner and that was ours, you’ve got to credit Motherwell, they’ve made the most of the situation and committed bodies forward, but we were still in a decent position at the half way line to stop that happening.

“There were a lot of positives, but it’s a wee reminder there’s still a lot of things to improve on.”

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