New Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell has been handed a contract until the end of next season after impressing in a caretaker role.
The former Ross County boss becomes Motherwell’s third manager of the season following the departures of Graham Alexander and then Steven Hammell, and his deal is a sign of the faith shown in him by the board.
Motherwell were initially thought to be reluctant to look beyond the summer as they battle for cinch Premiership survival but they have confirmed Kettlewell’s deal will initially run to May 2024.
After former Hibernian and Dundee United manager Jack Ross pulled out of the running, Grant McCann and Ian Holloway were the remaining names on the external shortlist but Kettlewell earned the job after securing back-to-back wins to pull Motherwell six points away from the bottom.
“Stuart impressed the board, not only with how he has got the team going in the last two games against St Mirren and Hearts, but with his vision for the club,” chairman Jim McMahon told the club’s website.
“We took time to speak to a number of impressive candidates, each of whom had their own strengths, but Stuart was, in our eyes, the best person to take Motherwell forward.
“He has managed at this level, he’s already won a league title and a domestic cup and we could sense from him a real desire and determination to take this role on and improve us across all areas of the football department.”
The former Queen’s Park, Clyde and Ross County midfielder led the Dingwall side to the SPFL Development League title in 2017 before stepping into the main role, initially alongside Steven Ferguson.
In their only two full seasons in charge, the pair led County to the Championship and Challenge Cup double and then Premiership safety, before Kettlewell was sacked in December 2020.
The 38-year-old joined Motherwell in October as lead development coach and is “immensely proud” to be taking charge of the first team.
“It’s been a whirlwind eight or nine days,” he said. “I had a burning desire to take the job to see if I can take this club forward and be a catalyst to what we hope will be a good chapter for the football club.
“I genuinely think I come to Motherwell a better manager than what I was previously and I hope that is something that appeals to the Motherwell supporters.
“This is a community club. It’s important that we join that up. I think this club is unique. It now becomes my job to drive it forward.”