Kettlewell hails Erwin impact after Hamilton draw

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Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell praised the impact of Lee Erwin after the striker made his first league appearance of the season in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Hamilton.

The former Motherwell forward signed for the Staggies in the summer after a spell playing in Iran.

He had an immediate influence in his first start when his shot was saved and Billy McKay turned in the rebound to give County the lead after just 36 seconds.

Kettlewell said: “Scoring so early in a match is unheard of for us and it was good that big Lee Erwin was involved. He’s had a long road back to fitness and we believe he can be a huge player for us.

“He played his part in the build-up and it was good to see Billy McKay scoring again because some of his recent performances have merited a goal.”

County recovered from a 4-0 loss to Rangers in midweek to take a point against the Accies. And Kettlewell feels games like Saturday will be the ones that define their season rather than one-sided mismatches against the Old Firm.

He added: “We had to pick ourselves up after a disappointing midweek display against Rangers, but that’s our battle.

“You have to say that anything we pick up from the teams at the top end is a bonus and that’s not being defeatist – it’s just us recognising our place in the food chain.”

Brian Rice, meanwhile, hopes to see Lewis Smith continue to develop after the Scotland Under-21 international scored Hamilton’s equaliser.

Smith, a lifelong Accies fan, has been one of the team’s outstanding performers this season but Rice believes there is still scope for improvement.

He said: “You can see Lewis us getting a bit of confidence. He’s a talent, we know what he’s got. But he’s just a young kid.

“It’s still all new to him and it’s a learning curve, but he’s learning quickly and he’s working hard. He’s great to work with and we just need to see if we can kick him on a bit now.”

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