Stuart Kettlewell set his sights on European football as he stressed the importance of establishing a long-term vision after being brought in to help steer Motherwell away from relegation trouble.
Kettlewell was this week appointed Motherwell manager on a contract until the summer of 2024 after winning both of his games in caretaker charge.
Victories against St Mirren and Hearts catapulted him ahead of Ian Holloway and Grant McCann in the race to succeed Steven Hammell and the former Ross County boss claimed the length of contract was no issue after being handed the reins beyond the summer.
The 38-year-old, who steps up from the role of lead development coach, said: “I have never been a short-term guy. I think it’s because I am loyal and I always want to see things out. You can dip in and out and have a little hand in something and when the going gets tough you move in another direction. That’s never been a focus of mine.
“Hopefully my time here is longer and can breed success. That (contract length) was never a point of debate, it was probably one of the easiest things to agree on.”
His long-term goals are to see Motherwell compete again in Europe while developing young players.
“I’m not going to shy away from the task, I think it’s one of the biggest football clubs in the country,” he said. “We all know the bracket of Rangers, Celtic, Hearts, Hibs, Aberdeen and these kinds of clubs but when you look at the achievement of St Mirren and Livingston this season, we firmly want to be in that mix, in that top half of the table and hopefully we can achieve some form of European football.
“But also can we be a club that develops and produces players, which becomes the business plan of football?
“That’s been a big aspect of how I have worked before and that will be something I will look to do as we move forward. You see so many guys in the past here who have had a brilliant journey in football and are now plying their trade down south and different places and have gone on to have really good careers. I would like to try and have that again as part of the identity of this football club.”
Kettlewell’s final game in league football came for Ross County in 2014 before a hip operation preceded a move to Brora Rangers.
His coaching career took off when he returned to Dingwall in 2016 and led County’s under-20s to the SPFL Development League title. He became co-manager alongside Steven Ferguson and they led the team to a Championship and Challenge Cup double and then Premiership safety in their two full seasons in charge.
Kettlewell, then on his own in the hotseat, was sacked in December 2020 after a 10-game run without a league win.
He believes he takes over at Motherwell a better manager for the experience and the subsequent period of reflection, which included regular punditry work.
“You almost do a review of yourself and the work you have done previously,” said Kettlewell, who arrived at Fir Park in October.
“I had an opportunity to look at so many different teams, look at it from a different angle and more of a balance rather than just the cause that I’m looking for at that minute in time, understanding other managers and what they do.
“You take bits you might like but also challenge yourself and think ‘how would I operate when faced with that?’. I have not wasted a second, I have been really, really busy.”
Kettlewell, who is looking for an assistant who can challenge his opinions, told Motherwell fans what attributes he wants his team to have.
“I was probably the guy as a player who had the best attitude you could come across in a dressing room,” he said. “My energy levels, my aggression, my will for a fight.
“Yes, I would love to see us play free-flowing football, open, expansive football and create chances but the fundamental part of the work ethic, being into training on time, coming in with a purpose that you want to do well every day, coming in to show people that you want to get in that starting XI or if you are a substitute have the attitude where you come on and make a difference.
“Those are all massive things because that’s how I handled myself as a player and that’s what I expect from players that work under me.
“My philosophy in football is to be versatile. It’s my job to find the best fit and that may at times change from week to week depending on the opponent and where you are playing and conditions and all the rest of it. That’s possibly been my biggest learning curve over those 20 months.”