The Kevin van Veen Motherwell enigma - tormenting Aberdeen and 'positive vibes' under Steven Hammell

There is something about the red shirts of Aberdeen which turns Kevin van Veen into a concoction of Dennis Bergkamp, Marco van Basten and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

Anthony Stewart, who has so far cut a relatively authoritative presence at he heart of the Dons defence, suddenly became a bedraggled figure in the face of the Dutchman. Ross McCrorie, David Bates and Decan Gallagher have all suffered the same fate across the past 12 months or so.

When Blair Spittal’s shot came back off the bar having been played through by Callum Slattery, of course it was Van Veen who was waiting to nod the ball into the empty net.

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Five of his 12 Well goals have now come against the Dons.

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But more than just finding the back of the net, the 31-year-old is an absolute handful. A nuisance. His touch and link play are on point, his movement crafty and intelligence. he finds an extra gear, extra pace and strength.

Such performances make fans think, imagine if Van Veen could do this on a weekly basis. Well, the Steelmen would be rubbing their hands at the prospect of a big transfer fee.

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The striker admitted he needed to put a performance in after being off the pace against St Johnstone, but was at a loss to explain why he has been so effective against Aberdeen. Motherwell themselves have lost just once in nine against the Dons.

“I came into this game as I do every game wanting to do well,” he said. “I have to say I need to up my game, even on Saturday. I was good in certain ways but I am still a bit off the pace in certain ways. I need to push myself to reach my potential.

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Kevin van Veen has been excellent for Motherwell against Aberdeen. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

“I think there is a lot more in me and I need to improve from last season. I have to give more and do more to cause havoc up top because that is what I want to do.

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“I feel I am getting into certain areas where I can be a threat. “he team can pick me out and I can also hold the ball to get my team up the pitch.

“It sounds really bad but I thought Spit’s shot might be saved or hit the woodwork and would fall to me. If he had scored that would have been great as well. I followed it up and it was a good goal.”

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Want to make the play

Van Veen nodded in his fifth goal against the Dons. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
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When Van Veen is in form he can wreak havoc. He gives the Steelmen an extra dimension.

As things stand, with little striker depth in the squad, he has plenty of responsibility at the top end. He was brought in by Graham Alexander but admits there is a “fresh wind” and “positive vibe” following the appointment of Steven Hammell.

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“We are now on the ball instead of setting up more defensive and winning second balls,” Van Veen. “We now want to make the play.

“You will get caught up at times and there are risks but I like playing like that.

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"We showed good penetration and that is what the gaffer wants. He wants us to play out and get as many touches. He wants quick football and it is working.

“The more time the manager gets the better we will be.”

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