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Stuart Kettlewell feels Motherwell’s final pre-season match against Dundee United has left the Fir Park outfit in confident mood ahead of the opening game of the new campaign on Saturday.

A goal from new signing Conor Wilkinson gave Well a 1-0 win over Championship side Dundee United in a behind-closed-doors game at Tannadice.

The Steelmen begin the 2023-24 campaign with a trip to Elgin City in the Viaplay Cup at the weekend and buoyant boss Kettlewell told Motherwell’s official Twitter account: “It was good to get here and almost play a proper game, it gets us closer to what we want.

“In terms of performance level, we were stages up from where we were on Saturday (2-2 draw with Falkirk) and that’s pleasing.

“I thought we looked fitter, I thought we looked stronger, I thought our organisation against the ball was really good.

“And then we started to create chances and we started to play some of the football I believe we can so that gives me a great deal of confidence and I think it gives the players a degree of confidence going into Saturday.

“You’re always trying to see if you can go up to playing against a good side before you’ve got competitive action, just simply to take the levels up.

“Today for me didn’t really feel like a pre-season friendly. I thought it was a competitive match.

“Dundee United have good players, we’ve seen that last season albeit they will be a little bit disappointed by the relegation.

“But yeah, it definitely took us to a stage in a game where there was serious questions asked of us and we had to be good in every facet of what we do.”