Derek McInnes has moved to clear up conjecture surrounding Kevin van Veen’s situation at Kilmarnock.

Eyebrows were raised on Saturday evening when it emerged during the manager’s post-match media duties at Aberdeen that he was unaware of a glute injury sustained by the on-loan striker.

The Dutchman, 32, has played just 80 minutes of football since his January arrival from FC Groningen. He’s made one start in the Scottish Cup against Cove Rangers, with the remainder of his minutes coming in the latter stage of league games.

It was a surprise to many that Van Veen didn’t come off the bench as Killie chased the Dons 3-1 at Pittodrie.

While that has led to some intense detective work and speculation regarding the forward's state of play, especially after comments made on the club’s TV channel, McInnes is adamant those doubting his fitness issues are wide of the mark.

Responding firmly to questioning on the matter, he said: “It was news to me because when I turned round to say to the lads to warm up, the physio said to me ‘Just to make you aware Kevin was feeling his glute’.

“There’s nothing to be looking for there. He’s desperate to play and I’m desperate to get him fitter. I told the forward players – him, Greg Stewart and Innes Cameron – and it was brought to my attention that Kevin was aware of something.

“He had been getting an extra rub on Friday night at the hotel. I don’t know if the travelling has stiffened it up a wee bit and when he woke up on Saturday morning it wasn’t great, but at no point had I been told there was an issue until 20 minutes to go when I wanted to put him on.

“I was as excited as everybody when we managed to get him and Greg, but we’ve been a bit hard done to when it comes to the things that have gone against them. Greg is bursting to play, as is Kevin, but they’ve had little setbacks along the way that are not allowing them to be at their best.

“I’m conscious that having both players in the building who are as good and talented as that can still have a huge part to play and have a big say on our season.

“Hopefully by the time we come out of the international break, Kevin is a bit more up to speed in terms of shaking this injury off. Hopefully, he’s fine for Saturday, but certainly getting him to a level where he can begin to start games for us.”

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McInnes is hopeful Van Veen will be passed fit to play some part in the crucial Premiership encounter against St Mirren this weekend. Matty Kennedy will miss out through injury, while Robbie Deas will replace the suspended Lewis Mayo.

Aside from the Ayrshire derby against Ayr United, games against St Mirren are the closest thing to a local rivalry for the Rugby Park outfit. The boss is looking for his players to enjoy the pressure of securing the top six before then looking to push on for the next target.

He said: “Traditionally there’s always been a big support, there were huge numbers last season. We had a good record against them last season, we won up there and drew the other in a game we should’ve won.

“St Mirren fans travel, it’s just down the road for them so there’s obviously something there. They’re similar-sized clubs, similar ambitions, punching above our weights, trying to keep ourselves above the bigger clubs in Scotland at the minute. So I think there’s good work being done by both.

“I’ve been really pleased that we’re in this position after the number of turnovers we had in the summer and the new bodies we had in. It’s important we try and see the job through but also try to be quite relaxed about it.

“This time last season was horrific and no one from a Kilmarnock perspective would want to go through that again. It’s important we recognise we have a good team, recognise the efforts of the players, get the supporters right behind us and we can hopefully see what we can do this year.”