Motherwell sealed a 3-0 win over a poor Livingston side with goals from Kevin van Veen (2) and Max Johnston.
The contest was over after half an hour as Motherwell’s drive and energy produced the chances that were converted in front of the two hundred travellers from West Lothian.
Stuart Kettlewell selected the eleven that started against Hibs last week and they repaid him with a powerful performance that produced three goals and a clean sheet.
Sean Goss got the game underway in the early spring sunshine and the home fans did not have long to wait for the first chance. Kevin van Veen flicked on for Max Johnston to have a pop from a narrow angle to give notice to Shamal George that a busy afternoon lay ahead. The pair would soon find themselves celebrating.
The opener arrived after nine minutes and it was the best of the three. Mikael Mandron should pace and control on the right before passing inside to James Furlong. The ball was moved on to van Veen inside the box for a tough with his right then a blast with his left to send the net bulging.
The visitors relied for the most past on seeking out their two big strikers Nouble and Guthrie but the ‘Well defence soon had their measure despite lacking inches and Liam Kelly was well protected.
The second came for a Johnston ball that gave van Veen a chance from wide on the right. His shot beat the ‘keeper at his near post.
Celebration had hardly ended before a third goal arrived. Blair Spittal tried his luck and George spilled the shot to give Johnston a target that he could not refuse. 3-0 with 33 minutes on the clock, the points were all but secure.
The second half was a tame affair by comparison. Livingston threw on five substitutes in vain attempt at recovery but they never looked like breaching the home defence.
Motherwell kept up their passing and pressing and to the crowd’s delight van Veen bundled the ball over the line as the crowd acclaimed his hat-trick. A VAR review spotted an offside offence but the striker’s brace earned him the man of the match award. His tally is now 22 for the season.
Dundee United will not be looking forward to their visit to Fir Park next week.
Motherwell 3 Livingston 0
Attendance 4,566 (202)
Team: Kelly, Johnston (O’Donnell 80), Casey, Butcher (Lamie 57), McGinn, Furlong, Spittall (Aithison 80), Goss, Cornelius (Slattery 80), Mandron (Paton 80), Van Veen
Saturday 8 April 2023