SPFL boss responds to Hibs fears over 'sporting integrity' as he takes on an Easter Road narrative

The Motherwell boss has weighed in on the Dundee situation.The Motherwell boss has weighed in on the Dundee situation.
The Motherwell boss has weighed in on the Dundee situation.
Hibs are heading into a pivotal top six clash battling a case of the unknown.

Motherwell boss Stuart Kettlewell is sympathetic to gripes over how Dundee’s postponed fixture with Rangers may impact the top six race - but it won’t affect how he views this weekend’s match with Hibs.

The aforementioned three clubs are fighting for the final spot in the Premiership’s top half, with a Hibs win in North Lanarkshire putting them past Dundee by two points, if Tony Docherty’s side suffer defeat at Aberdeen. An added wrinkle has been thrown into the mix with Dundee’s controversially postponed match against Rangers not being played until next Wednesday, meaning the Dark Blues may know exactly what is required to make the top six in that fixture.

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Hibs have raised ‘sporting integrity’ fears but the nature of a win putting Motherwell into the top six on goal difference - if Dundee suffer defeat to Aberdeen - eases Kettlewell. But he admitted: “The split and top and bottom six might not be confirmed on Saturday, which for me is really bizarre and something we’ve not seen before.

“But if you asked Nick Montgomery at Hibs it might be different from him because there’s different mindsets for managers. It’s not for me to speak for him but there’s different scenarios that may come about.

“If I relate it to my team and my club, it’s really simple. The only chance we have is to win the game and have that favour [from other games]. I have strong views on everything that’s happened and everybody has heard that over the last week or so.

“I would completely understand if that is the mindset from Hibs because there are different connotations and scenarios of what could come. From their manager’s point of view, sometimes that affects substitutions or what you do in a game. Would a point be enough? Would a win do it for you?

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“I’m sure Nick Montgomery will be bringing Hibs here to win a game of football but there’s elements that can happen within a game than can change a manager’s mindset. I would understand those questions of, do you call it sporting integrity or simply just a manager’s mindset or gameplan.

“But I’m being really clear that it doesn’t impact me whatsoever. I know what my task is and the players know their task and the only way we can give ourselves a chances is by picking up three points. And even that might still not be enough but it’s what we need to centre around.”

On the game itself, Kettlewell added with a nod to Hibs resources: “In terms of having one game to have a chance of getting into the top six, there was a stage when I would have bitten your hand off for that and I think most Motherwell supporters would be the same.

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“It’s a game to look forward to against a very good side. I’ve watched the way Nick Montgomery has been able to tweak and change things at Hibs. They’re very good in possession and they carry a lot of pace and a lot of threat throughout their team.

“I know people will say they have underachieved with the resources that they have, and that’s possibly the case, but in my opinion they are a very good side and they’re getting better.”

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