IF this was Kevin Van Veen feeling under the weather – he had a rather more colourful way of describing his condition at Easter Road – then it doesn’t bode well for Premiership defences. Though, the adjective the striker used could just as easily apply to the performance of the Hibernian backline on Saturday.

“I felt like s**t,” Van Veen said.

He hid it well. The Motherwell forward scored twice in the capital to bring his goal tally to 20 for the season, but it could have been more. He gave the Hibs defence a torrid time of it, going through on David Marshall twice, squeaking a penalty under him, and firing a cracking free kick past the keeper to put the tin lid on an impressive overall performance from Stuart Kettlewell’s men.

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From the off, they had the upper hand against a woefully out of sorts Hibs outfit, with the outstanding Sean Goss tickling the top corner of Marshall’s goal with a wonderful free kick of his own to set the Steelmen on their way.

Marshall’s rash challenge on Blair Spittal allowed Van Veen to double their advantage from the spot – just – before Kevin Nisbet headed a counter for the hosts from a lovely Chris Cadden delivery.

That was as good as it got for Johnson’s men though, and Van Veen’s coup de grace was the least that his team deserved.

“It was a massive win and the team was amazing,” he said. “I felt horrendous. It was one of those days I was just lethargic. 

“I have a lot going on in my personal life outside football. I’ve got some stuff that I had to deal with and it was one of those days when I felt lethargic and low on energy. It felt a bit like I was carrying a backpack. 

“I have to give credit to every single one of them for carrying me through the game. If it’s someone else feeling like that next week, if I feel good, I have to carry him through it. 

“We have been on a great run since the gaffer came in. We are a unit, and we are working for each other and this was a massive win. It was a good feeling to get three points.

“I was a bit annoyed with the first half. I need to finish the first one. I tried to put it through his legs but Marshall took it well and saved it.

“The second was unlucky from an angle but it was great to get 20 goals. If I’m being a perfectionist, I should maybe have scored one more and the penalty was not great.

“It was one of those days when I didn’t feel great. It was a terrible penalty. I never go there and I tried to do something different and it didn’t work out.

“Lucky for us it went in. With the freekick I know I’ve got that in my locker. But it was actually embarrassing to take a penalty like that then take a free kick like I did.

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“It’s still happy days but I’m still critical of myself.”

Van Veen has now set his sights on reaching the next landmark of 30 goals for the campaign.

“In the Netherlands I scored more but it was at a lower level when I was younger,” he said.

“But I feel good, apart from [on Saturday]. I’m confident and I love playing for this club.

“Hopefully I can keep it going. There are eight games left so I am hitting another 10 goals! I am that confident. You need to believe in yourself. Hopefully I score as many as possible.”

As valuable as his goalscoring prowess is, Van Veen’s propensity in rattling his opponents is almost as priceless a commodity for Motherwell.

Here, it was Marshall who took the bait, with Van Veen making sure to make a detour for the Hibs keeper after scoring his free kick as payback for a little bit of handbags between the pair earlier in the second half.

“He bumped into my back and I thought: ‘I will give you some back’,” he said.

“I’m not letting anyone run over me. No chance. So I bumped him back and he came to my face and started swearing at me. 

“So I thought: ‘I know I’m going to score again. Watch me coming towards you.’ So I just celebrated to him and I asked if he was alright after I put that freekick in and then I went to the fans.

“I like that type of stuff. He’s very experienced and a very good keeper and I don’t think he minds either that we both played that game.”

As for Hibs, the defeat – and the manner of it – rather caught them off guard, with midfielder Jimmy Jeggo at a loss to explain just why his team were so poor on the day.

 “It was very disappointing,” Jeggo said.

“The result in itself was not what we wanted and I think the performance was disappointing. We were miles off the type of team we want to be.

 “We had found a way of playing and the performances had been very good, bar the Rangers game, over the last six games.

 “So to be so drastically bad is disappointing and we need to get a grip of it quick smart.

“We know that we’re good enough to make sure we’re in that top six and if we get there we can be challenging for Europe.

 “That doesn’t change on the back of [Saturday], but that performance can’t happen again if we want to achieve what we want to.”