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Harry Paton hopes to extend his stay with Motherwell after expressing his gratitude to manager Stuart Kettlewell for ending his football exile.

Paton left Ross County at the end of last season after being charged over allegations of domestic abuse which he labelled “false” and which were dropped earlier this year.

While the charges were hanging over him, Paton returned to his home in Canada, initially training with his brothers, including former Staggies team-mate Ben, but then began a period of isolation where he had to keep his fitness up on his own.

That ended when he joined Motherwell on April 1 after former County manager Kettlewell got in touch. The former Canada youth international made his debut on the same day and has now played five times.

“I just wanted to get home, get my head down and have a relax after I left Ross County,” the 24-year-old said.

“Being with my brothers back home in Canada they helped me train for a while, then it was probably every day training on my own.

“I look after myself off the field as you need to do, I am trying to keep my career going as long as I can.

“I just looked after myself, fitness in the gym and training as much as I could until the opportunity came to get back playing.

“It wasn’t a tough time at all. I wanted to get back to my family and settle down and when the time was right and my head was right I wanted to get back playing and the manager contacted me and wanted me in straight away and I was really grateful for that.

“It was great to hear him call me and we had a good chat on the phone and I came in the next couple of days, it was really quick. I was in Canada at that point.”

The former Fulham and Hearts youth player added: “It is great working with him. He was the one who brought me into Ross County and I worked with him for a couple of years.

“He puts a lot of demands on you, he knows what I can bring to the table. He knows there is more to come from me. I will keep pushing and hopefully I will get a good run in the team.

“I know how he has worked before and I think that has helped me be comfortable in coming here.

“I am just enjoying it. It’s my job and I love what I do. I just want to keep doing it. I needed that time to reset and I am back here now and enjoying it.”

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s cinch Premiership meeting with St Johnstone, Paton added: “It’s been great, everyone has been really welcoming, staff and players have been great.

“I have hit the ground running, got some good minutes and I just want to put my head down and keep working hard.

“I would love to hopefully extend my stay here. I think the time will come when we can hopefully have those conversations at a later day and I will see what happens.”