Stewart Kettlewell draws his heart from Celtic’s win ahead of the Rangers clash

But the Fir Park boss believes his team’s mentality will be the key factor as he plans for what will be a famous win over Michael Bell’s side this weekend.

Kettlewell was in the dugout at Parkhead when Ross County stunned Celtic in the League Cup and left Glasgow with a historic 2-0 win in November 2020 and now has an Old Firm double in his sights.

The task awaiting Stillman on Saturday is ominous. Kettlewell is well aware of what pieces need to be put in place, while trying to keep momentum building in Lanarkshire.

“You count on him because it was a disciplined performance, we took chances when they came and it was very difficult to play against Celtic,” Kettlewell said of the win over Celtic as Ross Stewart and Alex Iacovitti scored. “We handled the ball really well, which is what you have to do in these situations.

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“I go back to the fact that when you’re playing against internationals and top-of-the-league teams there has to be real mental strength. You can’t get too restless in the game, you can’t just jump out of shape at times when he’s not on.

“I’ve watched some Rangers games lately and they can pick you up for fun when you make bad decisions and you can’t influence the direction of their game.

“Tactically it’s a big deal but for me mentally the decision-making and emotional intelligence are huge for me. We have to make sure we’re good on the field. How we handle the occasion is very important.”

Motherwell head into the Fir Park match with three wins from their last four matches, and the Steelmen could make a late climb into the top six this season after they give themselves some breathing room at the bottom of the table.

They will take on unbeaten Premier League side Rangers on Peel’s watch and Kettlewell wasn’t surprised at the way the Ibrox outfit has improved in recent weeks.

Kettlewell said: “I’ve been to a coaching session and listened to him before. It’s really impressive how he approaches his ideas around coaching and management plus there was another conversation. He’s a guy I really respect and he’s got an incredible record since joining Rangers.”

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“He’s someone I can see making them stronger and stronger over time. Michael will probably tell you that he supports himself to get on the pitch, coach the players and spread his ideas.

“He’s almost this hybrid between coach and manager. Having this understanding of how to do both. Most people you talk to with his experience, Michael is one of the best coaches.”

Motherwell Rangers have not been defeated in league matches – apart from their play-off victories in 2015 – since James McFadden propelled them to victory on Boxing Day 2002.

The stage is set for a new hero stepping forward and striker Kevin van Veen could be that man as he attempts to add 17 goals to his tally this term.

“It’s not just games against Rangers or Celtic,” Kettlewell said when asked if Van Veen would enjoy the final. “I’ve seen the hunger in Kevin since I came in and he’s the kind of disappointed he didn’t get three goals out at Dingwall last time. That’s a great trait to have.

“He supports himself, he thinks he can play against good players. I watch him in training every day and he does it.

“I’ve watched him in matches and even play against good defenders and good players, he’s backing himself up to put in good performances in those games. He’s a huge asset to us and we support him to continue to do that over the next 10 games or so.”

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