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Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell criticised referee Craig Napier for his “derogatory” manner towards his players and refusing his request to discuss what he felt was a “laughable” red card for Jack Vale in a 1-0 loss at Aberdeen.

Motherwell are set to appeal against Vale’s dismissal for catching Jack MacKenzie with his boot in the midriff as he intercepted a diagonal ball in the air.

Aberdeen almost immediately capitalised on their numerical advantage when Stefan Gartenmann headed home from a 60th-minute corner, which came after the Danish defender appeared to kick the ball behind himself.

On the red card, Kettlewell said: “For me it’s laughable. Jack MacKenzie comes steaming into Jack Vale, I thought it might have been our foul.

“I’m not sure the Aberdeen player has got any place in that vicinity when our player has won the ball and hooked it over his shoulder. And he actually comes charging in, doesn’t decelerate at any point, comes haring into Jack Vale and spins him around.

“We will put a still on it and say his leg is straight and all that nonsense. He has got to the ball first, I think you have to check up when you see the Motherwell player has made contact with the ball.

“But you see the ref’s reaction. We actually had the same reaction for a penalty awarded against us when they take no time whatsoever to stop and think, maybe communicate with the assistants just to see if they are seeing the right thing. And when he brandishes the red card we all know VAR is not going to turn it over.

“I can only tell you my gut feeling, and people will see it different ways, my first reaction was just to start laughing. I couldn’t believe it was given as a red card. Neither can the players.

“I spoke to some of the Aberdeen officials, people who have been around the game a long time, and there is a smirk on their face, almost that they got a big decision in their favour.

“What irks me even more than that, is when you go and ask for a conversation with the referees, as is common practice, he has not allowed any of us in.

“The request came very amicably, we wanted a conversation to ask a couple of questions. Part of that was about his communication to some of our players, experienced players who have played for their country, and in my opinion that derogatory manner that you speak to footballers, it’s not going to get a great reaction.”

On the match-winning corner, Kettlewell said: “We have had a look at it and I think some of you guys in the press box see the touch that comes off the Aberdeen player and it looks like it’s a goal kick.

“Look at the players’ reaction, the Aberdeen players start filtering back outside the box and our players acknowledge it’s our ball.

“It was just at the stage that you felt the whole thing was chaotic, stemming from the red card that the referee was like an Olympic sprinter to get across and brandish his red card.

“That’s what started it and I genuinely feel that’s what the game hinged on.”

Aberdeen interim manager Peter Leven felt his team got their rewards for upping the tempo after a jaded first-half display in the wake of their epic Hampden defeat against Celtic.

“I played it down this week and told the players they would be fine and they weren’t tired, but you could see some of them were still feeling the effects of it,” he said.

“The tempo wasn’t as good in the first half. We weren’t punching it through the lines or making enough options for the guys on the ball, we were forcing it. I told them they needed to up the tempo and they did that.

“You always have that worry that you have that dip after last week’s emotions, but I thought the boys’ character was brilliant.”