Scottish Premiership

Motherwell 2-0 Aberdeen: Graham Alexander's side with third-straight win to go fourth

By Ben BanksBBC Scotland
Kevin Van Veen
Kevin van Veen scored and assisted for Motherwell in the win against Aberdeen.

Motherwell striker Kevin van Veen's ability is "God-given", says manager Graham Alexander, after the Dutchman inspired his side to a Scottish Premiership win against Aberdeen.

Van Veen scored in the first half before assisting Juhani Ojala after the break to move Motherwell into fourth.

The 30-year-old Dutch forward joined from English League Two side Scunthorpe in the summer.

"I can't teach him anything on the ball," said Alexander.

"It's God-given and when he is in that sort of mood, he's hard to play against. When he adds the discipline off the ball, he's a top player. We know what he is capable of."

Aberdeen drop to sixth and have not won in six attempts since a 2-1 Europa Conference League win over Breidablik.

As much as Van Veen was the stand-out, Motherwell's stand-in captain Liam Kelly played a crucial role too after his return from the Scotland squad last week.

Aberdeen attempted to beat him repeatedly, with Calvin Ramsay denied twice. Funso Ojo had a close-range effort saved too and Christian Ramirez should have faired better with the goal at his mercy.

The visitors could not convert any of their many chances and Motherwell made them pay. Declan Gallagher was facing Motherwell for the first time since leaving in the summer. Kaiyne Woolery made sure it was not a warm welcome back for the former captain by beating him with a cross, which allowed Van Veen to head into the net.

Motherwell upped the ante and Tony Watt was twisting and turning in search of his third goal in as many games. But again, Aberdeen pushed, Kelly denying Marley Watkins with two big saves either side of half-time.

Glass' side had 14 shots on goal in the opening hour but Motherwell only needed two to claim the points.

Ojala was left open in the Aberdeen box as he made an unusual venture forward, with the Finnish defender heading home his first goal for the club from an excellent Van Veen cross.

The Dutch striker was enjoying himself and almost beat Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis again with an audacious cross. Lewis did well to scramble it off the line and Liam Grimshaw was not able to bundle the ball into an empty net.

Motherwell tails were up as home fans pleaded for a third and decisive goal. Woolery missed a golden chance and Scott Brown attempted to score his first Aberdeen goal, but predictably, Kelly was there to deny a player in red.

Man of the Match - Kevin Van Veen

Kevin van Veen
Van Veen played a part in both goals while also displaying his excellent technical ability

What did we learn?

Steve Clarke's Scotland were criticised at times during the international break for a lack of goals, but this game proved it isn't about how many chances you create, it's about how many you put away.

Motherwell scored with their two best chances while Aberdeen were blunt in front of goal. That said, an inspired performance from Kelly certainly didn't help the visitors, whose wait for another win goes on.

The Fir Park side meanwhile are in a confident moment and no defence will envy facing Van Veen in this kind of form.

What they said

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander: "Aberdeen are a very good team and they move the ball really well. We had to have discipline in our shape. We scored two goals of the highest quality.

"They were great goals and I am delighted to get three points. We didn't get sucked into bad areas and we gradually grew into the game."

Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass: "When you have as much of the ball as we did, you need to do something with it.

"I think defensively it was a bigger disappointment. We were on top and they swung it in our box once and we suffered. We suffered at both ends of the pitch. When they are clinging on at 1-0, it's a different game."

What's next

Motherwell travel to champions Rangers next Sunday (15:00 BST) in league action, while Aberdeen host St Johnstone 24 hours earlier.

Player of the match

GossSean Goss

with an average of 7.27


  1. Squad number27Player nameGoss
    Average rating


  2. Squad number9Player namevan Veen
    Average rating


  3. Squad number4Player nameLamie
    Average rating


  4. Squad number32Player nameWatt
    Average rating


  5. Squad number14Player nameOjala
    Average rating


  6. Squad number19Player nameMcGinley
    Average rating


  7. Squad number21Player nameSolholm Johansen
    Average rating


  8. Squad number23Player nameGrimshaw
    Average rating


  9. Squad number6Player nameMaguire
    Average rating


  10. Squad number1Player nameKelly
    Average rating


  11. Squad number5Player nameMugabi
    Average rating


  12. Squad number16Player nameSlattery
    Average rating


  13. Squad number7Player nameWoolery
    Average rating


  14. Squad number8Player nameO'Hara
    Average rating



  1. Squad number3Player nameMacKenzie
    Average rating


  2. Squad number22Player nameRamsay
    Average rating


  3. Squad number9Player nameRamírez
    Average rating


  4. Squad number2Player nameMcCrorie
    Average rating


  5. Squad number44Player nameM Longstaff
    Average rating


  6. Squad number7Player nameWatkins
    Average rating


  7. Squad number19Player nameFerguson
    Average rating


  8. Squad number16Player nameOjo
    Average rating


  9. Squad number5Player nameGallagher
    Average rating


  10. Squad number8Player nameBrown
    Average rating


  11. Squad number1Player nameLewis
    Average rating


  12. Squad number27Player nameBates
    Average rating


  13. Squad number14Player nameEmmanuel-Thomas
    Average rating


  14. Squad number18Player nameMcLennan
    Average rating




Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Kelly
  • 5Mugabi
  • 21Solholm Johansen
  • 14Ojala
  • 19McGinley
  • 23GrimshawBooked at 72mins
  • 16Slattery
  • 8O'HaraBooked at 44mins
  • 7WooleryBooked at 36minsSubstituted forLamieat 73'minutes
  • 32WattBooked at 83minsSubstituted forMaguireat 90+2'minutes
  • 9van VeenBooked at 27minsSubstituted forGossat 80'minutes


  • 4Lamie
  • 6Maguire
  • 12Fox
  • 17Amaluzor
  • 22Donnelly
  • 27Goss
  • 29Shields


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Lewis
  • 22RamsaySubstituted forBatesat 62'minutes
  • 5Gallagher
  • 2McCrorieBooked at 90mins
  • 3MacKenzieBooked at 23mins
  • 19FergusonBooked at 58mins
  • 8BrownBooked at 90mins
  • 44M LongstaffSubstituted forEmmanuel-Thomasat 67'minutes
  • 16OjoSubstituted forMcLennanat 67'minutes
  • 9Ramírez
  • 7Watkins


  • 14Emmanuel-Thomas
  • 17Hayes
  • 18McLennan
  • 20Jenks
  • 24Campbell
  • 25Woods
  • 27Bates
John Beaton

Match Stats

Home TeamMotherwellAway TeamAberdeen
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Motherwell 2, Aberdeen 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Motherwell 2, Aberdeen 0.

  3. Post update

    Lewis Ferguson (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Sean Goss (Motherwell).

  5. Booking

    Scott Brown (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Scott Brown (Aberdeen).

  7. Post update

    Sean Goss (Motherwell) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  8. Substitution

    Substitution, Motherwell. Barry Maguire replaces Tony Watt.

  9. Booking

    Ross McCrorie (Aberdeen) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Ross McCrorie (Aberdeen).

  11. Post update

    Tony Watt (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Juhani Ojala.

  13. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Marley Watkins (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Connor McLennan with a cross.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Scott Brown (Aberdeen) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ross McCrorie.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Aberdeen. Conceded by Nathan McGinley.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Connor McLennan (Aberdeen).

  17. Post update

    Nathan McGinley (Motherwell) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Booking

    Tony Watt (Motherwell) is shown the yellow card.

  19. Post update

    Scott Brown (Aberdeen) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Tony Watt (Motherwell).

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