SPL

Stuart Kettlewell insists there is plenty of improvement left for Motherwell

By Sports Desk January 20, 2024

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.”

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