Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Sport
Graeme McGarry

Motherwell 1 Ross County 0: Van Veen and VAR conspire to down Staggies

KEVIN VAN VEEN scored for the ninth match in a row for Motherwell as a stoppage time penalty finally saw the Steelmen shake off a stubborn Ross County side, with a little help from VAR along the way.

Not only did the visitors have a penalty award overturned after a lengthy review, but Keith Watson’s handball was also picked up just as they looked to be heading north with a priceless point in their battle to avoid the drop.

Owura Edwards was also dismissed as the game ticked into 12 minutes of added time, rather impressively picking up two bookings in a little under six minutes after coming on as a substitute in the 77th minute.

Here are the talking points from Fir Park…

WILLIE COLLUM IRKS MALKY MACKAY FROM AFAR

He may have been stationed some miles away from Lanarkshire in the VAR room at Clydesdale House, but that didn’t stop Willie Collum making his mark on proceedings.

The official intervened in the action just after the break when on-field referee Euan Anderson had awarded Ross County a penalty as Connor Randall went down in the area. Then, we waited. And waited. And waited some more.

Eventually, Anderson was invited over to review his decision on the pitchside monitor, where he concluded that Motherwell defender Callum Butcher had got a foot to the ball, and predictably reversed his decision.

It was the right call, and defenders of VAR will point out that the technology had done its job. But quite why it took so long to reach that conclusion is anyone’s guess, and the delays fans are being subjected to remains a major bugbear.

In fact, that delay was a major contributor to 12 minutes being added at the end of the match, where VAR would have its say once more.

YAN DHANDA COULD BE THE DIFFERENCE FOR COUNTY

There wasn’t all that much in County’s showing here that was aesthetically pleasing, to say the least, with Mackay’s men fighting and scrapping for every ball but producing little in the way of free-flowing football.

Needs must, given their situation near the bottom of the table. But amidst the guts there was at least a little bit of guile produced by Dhanda, with the County number 10 always looking the most likely to create something for his team.

His close control proved difficult for the Motherwell defenders to handle, allowing him to win free kicks in dangerous areas that he will be a little miffed his teammates didn’t make more of from some decent deliveries.

He set up perhaps the one clear opportunity that County fashioned over the course of the afternoon, showing good feet and awareness to set up Samuel on the edge of the Motherwell box, with the forward’s low effort being deflected just wide of the post by a brilliant Dan Casey block.

He couldn’t ultimately make the difference on the day, but he showed enough to suggest he could be critical in the final two games.

VAN VEEN EVENTUALLY MAKES IT NINE IN A ROW

The talismanic striker has been on some run, but it looked as though his shooting boots had finally deserted him here as he looked to score for the ninth match in succession.

He didn’t have many clear-cut opportunities in fairness, though he will feel he should have done better with one late on as he ran through under pressure from Dylan Smith before blasting high and wide from an ever-tightening angle.

That final, magic touch that Van Veen has consistently produced of late appeared missing though, exemplified when he took on a shot from an outrageous angle late on when he had men up in support.

With a little help from VAR though, he would not be denied, and when referee Anderson pointed to the spot eight minutes into added time for a Keith Watson handball, there was only ever going to be one man to step up.

The big man rapped the ball into Ross Laidlaw’s bottom corner, and picked up a club record for goals in consecutive matches along with the three points for his team.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.