KEVIN VAN VEEN was crowned the King of Fir Park as the Dutchman’s masterclass helped Motherwell see off a poor Kilmarnock side.

The Steelmen look assured of Premiership football next season as they got their post-split fixtures off to a winning start through an early Blair Spittal strike and Van Veen’s customary goal late on.

Here are the talking points as Killie remain deep in the relegation mire…


The Motherwell supporters unfurled a banner prior to kick-off as they confirmed the coronation of their own King Kev, and their star striker Van Veen showed here just why he is so revered at Fir Park.

He may have taken his time to get on the scoresheet, with his first half finish ruled out for offside after an interminable VAR check, but the big Dutchman was all swagger and confidence, producing deft flicks and tricks and giving the Killie defence a torrid time of it.

Twice he produced mesmerising first touches to leave his opponents flailing. First, it was Joe Wright who was the victim, as Van Veen lived up to his ‘budget Bergkamp’ nickname with a turn that his feted compatriot would have been proud of, before his backheel in the second half sent Spittal in on goal.

The midfielder really should have killed the contest, but he shot straight at Sam Walker, who managed to divert the ball to safety with his left foot.

Van Veen then skinned Ash Taylor with ease to draw a more impressive stop from Walker low to his left, but it looked as though his hot scoring streak was finally to come to an end despite the show the forward put on for his adoring public. As the clock ticked into injury time though, he crowned off his display with a brilliant second for his team.

He cushioned a long clearance from goalkeeper Liam Kelly as if he had pillows in his boots, cut inside the befuddled Taylor and finished low into the keeper’s right-hand corner to give him the goal he richly deserved. His 25th of the campaign, and his seventh in five games.

The only concern for Motherwell fans was the knock Van Veen picked up to his foot that seemed to be giving him some trouble towards the end, but he seems to have already shot them comfortably to safety.


If ever there was proof of the unshakeable faith of football fans, it was in the away end at Fir Park as 1825 Killie supporters packed into the bottom tier of the Tommy McLean Stand.

Ok, they were eventually rewarded for their blind backing last time out as their side finally got their first away victory of the season at St Mirren, but that result and performance seems as though it was indeed an anomaly, as their side’s travel sickness came back with a vengeance in Lanarkshire.

The worrying thing for those fans is that the win they so badly needed here to haul themselves out of danger never looked remotely likely from the fourth minute concession of the opener.

Aside from a Danny Armstrong free kick in the first half that kissed the outside of Liam Kelly’s right-hand post, the visitors offered next to nothing by way of a goal threat. Christian Doidge was ineffective up against Calum Butcher, Scott Robinson struggled to get into the game, and even Armstrong was a lot quieter than usual on the wing.

At the back, they were all over the place, with neither centre back remotely equipped to deal with the red-hot Van Veen. Spittal's goal too was all-too easy. James Furlong did well to pick the midfielder out with a cutback, but he had acres of space in the area to pick his spot past Walker.

The silver lining is that three of their remaining four games are at Rugby Park, and they have to hope that home comforts prove crucial in their battle for survival.


It was always likely to be a day when the official would frustrate supporters, with a radio malfunction that held up kick-off by over five minutes getting him on the wrong side of the crowd before the game had even started.

When the action did get underway, he then spent the first half trying his best to halt it, awarding fouls for the merest infringements and stopping the game getting into any sort of flow.

Over and above Clancy’s pernickety approach, the officiating team took an age to sort out a VAR review as Van Veen had a goal chalked off for offside. First, they checked for a possible red card for a Sean Goss tackle on Alan Power that even the Killie man appeared bemused to see reviewed, before then spending another couple of minutes checking the offside call.

Thankfully, after the break he was a little less whistle happy, and the game improved as a result.