STUART KETTLEWELL will be accepting no excuses from his players if they lose at Livingston, revealing he has banned all moaning about plastic pitches in training this week as his men aim to get back on track in West Lothian.

The Motherwell manager believes that his team’s mental approach to the test awaiting them at Livi will be crucial to their chances of victory, and that the visitors must try to impose their own style on David Martindale’s team rather than allow the hosts to dictate the way the game is played.

While Kettlewell might not personally be the biggest fan of artificial surfaces, he says the reality is that his players have to deal with it, and he will be annoyed if he hears any of them complaining about the pitch.

READ MORE: Kettlewell insists Motherwell remain confident despite losing run

“It doesn’t matter what I think about it and whether I agree with it or not,” Kettlewell said.

“All I think is that it is going to be different type of game, and whether I like it or don’t like it, it doesn’t matter to anybody.

“I just believe that the game will be played a different way, there will be different bounces of the ball, you’re going to have to defend free kicks from their half of the pitch at times coming into your box and all the rest of it.

“But that’s the nature of the game, and that’s Scottish football. It can be very versatile at times in terms of its approach and the type of football that you see and how teams go about it.

“I think the good teams can handle all the different scenarios, the pitches, the style of play and all the rest of it. But I also think that you can impose your good attributes on it as well.

“So, you’re not going to get me complaining about it for one second. I think their record there speaks for itself in that they’re so hard to play against and so hard to beat there.

“We must brace ourselves for exactly that, and all the other opinions and thoughts mean absolutely nothing to me. I just need to make sure that our team are ready to go when it comes on Saturday.

“I would get really annoyed with my players if they started making it an issue and they started talking about it and they elevated to something that I don’t think it needs to be.

“Our preparation this week very simply needs to remain the same. We will go and train on nice grass pitches, but we are going there with a focus and knowing that we’ve got to play a game on the astroturf.

“I think the mental side of it is massive. I don’t want a complaint. I don’t want to hear anybody talking about the bounce of the ball or the type of game that they’re going to face, because it just becomes an excuse.

“It can become a grump and a groan that I’m not prepared to listen to, to be quite honest with you.

“The players are absolutely fine, and they are a good group that way, we won’t hear anything.”

One thing that Kettlewell was delighted to hear yesterday was that midfielder Harry Paton had been rewarded for his fine recent form with a call-up to the Canada squad for their friendly against Japan next Friday.

It caps off a remarkable turnaround for the former Ross County man, who due to a combination of personal and injury issues, was out of the game for almost the entirety of last season before Kettlewell – who managed him in Dingwall previously - offered him an opportunity.

“Harry had been struggling a bit with his hip,” he said. “The guys here have done some terrific work and hopefully that will solve that problem.

READ MORE: Can St Mirren or Motherwell upset city clubs in battle for third?

“What everyone is waxing lyrical about right now in terms of Harry’s performances, I’m not surprised at all. I have worked with him for a number of years and when I brought him in, I just thought he needed an opportunity to fly.

“He has been working exceptionally hard. Sometimes he tries too hard towards trying to stay in a team and get back in the Canada squad.

“Sometimes it’s just about relaxing a bit and believing in your talent which undoubtedly, he has.

“This is the most consistent I’ve seen him in the last few weeks. The second half against Kilmarnock he was excellent, and he’s not come off those levels against Hearts, Rangers or Celtic.

“That’s the most pleasing aspect because at times I just felt the level of consistency had to stick and now it feels he has a real good understanding of what his role is here.

“Hopefully he’s rewarded by picking up a cap with Canada. I’m delighted for him that people are now seeing the best version of him.

“I know Harry went back over to Canada. He was in training [with Toronto] and I think it became an easy one for me because I knew what he could bring to the party.

“When I offered him the opportunity, he jumped at it. It was a short term one to have a look.”

That has worked out for both parties, to the extent that Kettlewell believes he could now be someone the club could make a tidy profit on down the line.

“We talk about assets at a club and at 25 he firmly comes into that category,” he said. “It was a bit of a no brainer for me. 

“I remember watching him on his first day in training at Ross County as an 18-year-old when we first took him in from Hearts and I was blown away by the traits he had as a centre midfielder.

“It’s always been a case of working towards consistency. This is the best I’ve seen in terms of maturity off the pitch and how he’s performing. If he continues that he becomes a huge asset here.

“Even taking away the football side I see a massive level of maturity as a person. He seems to enjoy living here and is in a happy place in his life and you can see that reaping the benefits on the pitch.”