Stuart Kettlewell takes charge of Ross County until end of season

Ross County have named Stuart Kettlewell as Owen Coyle’s replacement after appointing him as manager until the end of the season.

The club’s under-20s boss is stepping into the first-team hotseat after Thursday’s shock resignation by Coyle.

But the former Staggies midfielder – who will be assisted by Steven Ferguson – will have to wait to make his first appearance in the dug-out after Saturday’s home clash with relegation rivals Partick Thistle was postponed as a result of the severe weather conditions.

County announced the news on their Twitter account, posting: “Ross County Football Club have announced that – following the departure of Owen Coyle as manager – Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson will take charge of first-team affairs until the end of the season.”

Kettlewell – who registered 149 appearances for the Dingwall outfit as a player – led County’s under-20s to a surprise Development League title triumph last season.

But the 33-year-old’s task now will be to prevent the club’s top team dropping through the Ladbrokes Premiership trapdoor.

The Highlanders currently sit bottom, three points adrift of Thistle with 10 games remaining.

Coyle left the Staggies faithful stunned when he announced he and number two Sandy Stewart were quitting after just five months in charge.

The club revealed the news in a statement just hours after Coyle had completed his regular weekly media duties with no warning of the news to follow.

In a statement on the club’s website, Coyle said: “Myself and the chairman had a chat on Monday and after some reflective thought I felt for the good of Ross County – and the challenging situation with my family being in England – it was in everyone’s best interests for me to offer my resignation, which the chairman duly accepted.”

Coyle, a former County player, only took over on September 28, after Jim McIntyre had been sacked the year after leading the club to League Cup glory and a top-six finish.

The former Burnley, Bolton and Blackburn boss cited his relationship with chairman Roy MacGregor as key to accepting the post after receiving a phone call hours after McIntyre’s departure was confirmed.

The 51-year-old secured three victories in his first six matches to move the Staggies up to eighth, one point off the top six, but they have only won once in the subsequent 16 games.

Coyle had brought in eight new recruits including former Bolton players Chris Eagles and David Ngog.

The club made little comment on the situation regarding Coyle’s departure, with MacGregor adding in last night’s statement: “We thank Owen and Sandy for their time at Ross County Football Club and wish them well for the future.”

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