Motherwell fume at Aberdeen VAR decisions as Dons get crucial win at Fir Park

Kettlewell takes umbrage at disallowed goal and Shinnie handball incident

Interim Aberdeen boss Peter Leven was delighted after his side dug deep to defeat Motherwell and give themselves some breathing space in the cinch Premiership relegation battle.

Leighton Clarkson netted the only goal of the game after 25 minutes, before the Dons survived a disallowed goal and a last-gasp penalty claim. Aberdeen’s first league win in 12 games moved them into ninth place, though their advantage over Ross County in the relegation play-off spot remains at three points after the Staggies defeated Hearts.

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But Leven said: “There is a bit of breathing space and the three points are massive. But we can’t look at other teams around us. It’s all about us and what we can do. I don’t look at what happened elsewhere. We can’t affect what happens elsewhere and the boys just need to keep getting results and keep climbing the table.”

Leighton Clarkson scored a priceless goal for Aberdeen away at Motherwell.Leighton Clarkson scored a priceless goal for Aberdeen away at Motherwell.
Leighton Clarkson scored a priceless goal for Aberdeen away at Motherwell.

Leven felt a first clean-sheet in a dozen games was key in ending their winless league run. Despite some nervous moments, Kelle Roos and the Aberdeen defence held strong. “I thought we were brave, we didn’t panic and I thought we controlled the game,” Leven added. The flip side of it for me is the way we defended – getting a clean sheet is massive.”

Motherwell boss Stuart Kettlewell was fuming after vital VAR decisions went against his team. Lennon Miller looked to have levelled five minutes before half-time, only for the goal to be ruled out for handball against Theo Bair following a lengthy VAR check. It then looked like the Steelmen would be awarded a penalty after the ball struck the arm of Graeme Shinnie in the final seconds, but the Dons player was not punished.

“I’ve just looked at the incident at the end of the game, it’s the first time I’ve had that situation,” Kettlewell said. “The ball 100 per cent comes off Shinnie’s arm and his arm is out from his body. We’ve all spoke about the incidents you see with Celtic and Hearts the other week there – somehow I don’t think this will gather as much traction as what that did.

“Somebody is going to have to sum this up for me, somebody is going to have to give me some sort of clarity. I’ve already said I’m not going back and speaking to (Scottish Football Association head of referee operations) Crawford Allan because it’s going absolutely nowhere on a Monday morning, trying to find out why that was the case.

“We’re going to have to try tidy this up for the sake of Scottish football. What I should be doing as always is talking about our team, our performance and how the game has went – but no we’re back talking about handballs and VAR.”