Kevin van Veen ‘played through injury’ as Motherwell man kept goal streak going
Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell hailed Kevin van Veen’s commitment after the striker played through injury to net in his eighth consecutive game.
The Dutchman overcame a foot knock which he had suffered last weekend to score a re-taken penalty in confident style as Well beat St Johnstone 2-0 to confirm their cinch Premiership status for another year.
Van Veen saw his initial effort saved but Remi Matthews was penalised for coming off his line too early and the in-form striker then chipped his second penalty over the diving goalkeeper to give the visitors a 52nd-minute lead.
It was his 26th goal of the season, his 11th in eight games and a 22nd in the league, which leaves him two behind Premiership top goalscorer Kyogo Furuhashi, one of three Celtic players the Motherwell man goes up against in Sunday’s PFA Scotland player of the year awards.
Van Veen is the first Motherwell player to score in eight consecutive top-flight games since the Second World War and the first in Scotland since Craig Dargo for Inverness in 2005-06.
Kettlewell said: “Undoubtedly he catches the headlines, we understand why, eight games in a row he has now scored, but he is very much committed to the cause, which everybody can see.
“He played through an injury and if you’re not committed to the cause then he’s chapping my door telling me he wants to sit at the side.
“It’s just a knock on his foot, it’s not a great issue, but he hasn’t trained an awful lot this week.
“I think everybody could see that wasn’t his best day but he still comes up with another goal.
“He gets the second bite at the penalty, shows unbelievable composure to do what he did with the second effort. That was tremendous.”
Kettlewell, whose side killed off the game in stoppage time, added: “I’m delighted for Mikael Mandron to get his first league goal for us and I thought his efforts deserved it as well.”
The result leaves St Johnstone just three points ahead of the danger zone and manager Steven MacLean bemoaned a lack of quality in the final third after his side failed to test Liam Kelly.
“I thought we just lacked that little bit of quality,” he said. “I thought first half we were the better side and got into good areas and (lacked the) final ball, that wee bit of killer instinct.
“Second half I don’t think we started well enough but they only looked dangerous in transitions and then we concede the penalty.
“Remi saves it and it gets called back by VAR. It is what it is. I think Remi was off his line, the fourth official said that.
“The second goal, we are having a go and trying to get back in the game, I will take that one. But there was nothing in the game – they get the penalty and that changes the game.”