The Herald - Herald Sport
Van Veen hits 103-year-old record after scoring again
Dutchman joins Motherwell hero by scoring in 10 matches in a row
KEVIN VAN VEEN became the first post-war player since Mark Viduka in 2000 to score in 10 consecutive Scottish top-flight games after netting in last night’s draw at Livingston.
The Dutchman also matched the record set by Motherwell hero Hughie Ferguson – who accomplished the same scoring feat 103 years ago.
The in-form forward pounced after only three minutes, lashing home a close range effort after finding himself in space inside the area.
Ahead of Sunday’s final game of the season at home to Dundee United and with 28 goals to his name, he is now only two away from becoming the first Motherwell player since Dixie Deans in 1968-69 to reach the 30-goal milestone in a single campaign.
For long spells it seemed that Van Veen would celebrate his individual achievement by playing his part in collecting all the spoils.
That appeared even more likely after Shamal George was sent off just before the break for a reckless challenge on the striker.
But Livingston, like they always do, refused to throw in the towel and arguably justified their late leveller through Andrew Shinnie after the home team did well to keep up the pressure despite their numeral disadvantage.
As well as the aforementioned feat involving Van Veen, there was another reason this match was not the complete dead rubber.
It may be perceived as fairly insignificant to those outside of Livingston or Motherwell, but the result of this game had huge bearing on the push to finish the best of the bottom sixth.
That target remains in the balance, with only a point separating them going into the final day.
As parts of the stadium basked in the warm evening sunshine, they witnessed a lively start to the game.
Bruce Anderson was given a sight of goal inside the first minute but the diminutive striker failed to get any meaningful contact on his shot and the ball trickled through to Liam Kelly.
Then popped up Van Veen of course. It was a bit too easy from a Livingston point of view.
Blair Spittal played a ball into the box that was cushioned down by Mikael Mandron. Quite inexplicably, Van Veen found himself in space just yards from goal and the 31-year-old lashed an effort high into the net.
The hosts responded well.
Stephen Kelly got a snap shot away inside the area but Motherwell keeper Kelly was right behind it.
Former Rangers trainee Kelly was involved again moments later as the Lions came close to
The Scotland under-21 cap and Anderson combined with some slick one-touch football before the former fired just over from 18 yards.
Van Veen was involved again as this game swung further in the visitors’ favour just before the break but this time there were no goals involved.
Instead, the marksman got a sore head for his troubles as George was sent off following the protracted intervention of VAR.
Van Veen chased down a long, bouncing ball and was clattered by George just outside the area.
It was at this point the assistant referee Jonathan Bell raised his flag for offside.
Despite this, referee Chris Graham still booked George for his challenge and then subsequently upgraded his decision to a red after being asked to review footage of the incident by VAR official Matthew MacDermid.
Jamie Brandon, making his first start for Livingston since joining last summer following an injury-plagued spell, was the unfortunate man to make way for back-up keeper Jack Hamilton.
To Livingston’s credit they did not look like a team that had only ten men in the second half.
Jason Holt’s half-time introduction for Sean Kelly added more bite and urgency to the Livingston midfield and the home side pegged Motherwell back for spells.
Davie Martindale was fired up too, the Livingston manager earning a talking to from the referee after being left frustrated over what he perceived was a foul on Nicky Devlin down the right touchline. But Devin – who will depart for Aberdeen this summer – played his part in the equaliser.
The right back drove down the wing before laying on a simple tap-in for substitute Shinnie in the 84th minute.