Ross County lose ground in race to qualify for European football after Kevin Van Veen penalty consigns them to defeat against Motherwell in Dingwall
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Ross County 0
Motherwell 1 (Van Veen)
Motherwell moved one step closer to European qualification with a 1–0 win over Ross County in Dingwall.
Sights of goal were few and far between for both sides, but Kevin Van Veen's 68th minute penalty proved to be the difference.
Ross County saw a mostly unchanged side bolstered by the return of Jack Baldwin to the starting 11, free to play again after suspension, taking the spot of Keith Watson.
Graham Alexander made three changes to his starting line-up, with Stephen O'Donnell, Liam Donnelly and Joe Efford coming into the side, with Bevis Mugabi and Kevin Woolery out of the squad altogether and Callum Slattery dropping to the bench, where he sat alongside the returning Kevin Van Veen.
With Motherwell having only won one league match in 2022 going into the match, it was perhaps no surprise that County looked the more confident of the two teams early on.
Regan Charles-Cook, Jake Vokins and David Cancola all had efforts on goal in the opening 10 minutes, but none of them could trouble Liam Kelly enough to open the scoring.
By and large, that was the story of the first half, with neither keeper overly troubles before the interval.
Kelly was the busier of the two stoppers, though, with Motherwell having to wait until the half hour mark before Mark O'Hara went wide, followed up by Joe Efford forcing a save out of Ross Laidlaw and Connor Shields going close with a header.
Really, it was after the hour had passed that either side came close to breaking the deadlock.
Keith Watson cut the ball back to Blair Spittal on the edge of the box, but his powerful shot was just too close to Kelly who was able to make the save.
Moments later, though, County were behind. Alex Iacovitti fouled Kevin Van Veen inside his own penalty area, and the Dutchman dispatched the resultant spot kick to send Motherwell in front.
Ross County tried to push forward and respond, but they struggled to test Kelly again until stoppage time.
Joseph Hungbo cut inside on his left foot and sent a tantalising cross in towards the back post that looked to be creeping in until Kelly dove to his right to tip it around the post, securing all three points for the visitors and making sure Motherwell leapfrog Ross County into fifth in the table.
Ross County: Laidlaw, Randall (Watson 54), Vokins (Wright 85), Cancola (D Samuel 76), Baldwin, Spittal, Callachan, Iacovitti, Charles-Cook, Tillson (Hungbo 46), White.
Subs not used: Munro, Sims, Burroughs, Drysdale, B Paton.
Motherwell: Kelly, O'Donnell, Carroll, Lamie, O'Hara, Ojala (Slattery 62), Efford (Van Veen 62), Donnelly, Tierney (Shaw 71), Goss, Shields (Cornelius 84).
Subs not used: Connelly, Campbell, Mahon.
Referee: David Munro
Yellow cards: Ross County – Tillson (41); Motherwell – Ojala (13), Goss (73), Van Veen (85).