Motherwell pulled off a smash and grab at Pittodrie as two quick-fire goals from Kevin van Veen secured the points in a match Aberdeen dominated for long spells.

The hosts started positively with Marley Watkins and Christian Ramirez both threatening Liam Kelly’s goal early on as the Dons looked to break the deadlock.

Stephen Glass’ side took control of the game as Motherwell dug in and put in a dogged defensive performance and the hosts thought they had made it 1-0 when Ramirez had a header cleared off the line.

There was some nice football on display from the Dons as they tried to break the deadlock; Watkins racing down the right hand side, picking out Dean Campbell and the midfielder’s forcing a save from Kelly – with the resulting corner having to be cleared off the line.

As the game ticked towards the break, the biggest sign of Aberdeen’s dominance – despite their lack of goals – was the three Motherwell players in the referee’s book as the Steelmen looked happy to disrupt the flow of Aberdeen’s game and head down the road with a point.

Despite dominating the opening 45, Aberdeen quickly found themselves a goal down after the restart when Motherwell scored from their first real attempt on goal.

Sean Goss’ whipped cross was diverted home by a deft touch from Kevin van Veen as the Steelmen scored against the run of play and silenced the 9,ooo-strong Red Army.

The Motherwell striker showed great composure to fire ‘Well into the lead and Aberdeen looked like a totally different side after such an impressive opening 45.

The Dutch striker made it 2-0 soon after the opener, knocking the ball home after a free-kick was headed back across goal to hand van Veen a gift of a second goal.

Aberdeen finally started to find their footing after going 2-0 down, Campbell having an effort saved by Kelly before there was a controversial penalty appeal from the hosts.

Christian Ramirez looked to have been hauled down by Ricky Lamie but referee Don Robertson was unsighted and allowed the game to continue.

The Dons continued to push for a lifeline and try to get back into the game, peppering Liam Kelly’s goal with shots but Aberdeen couldn’t find any way past the Steelmen as they slipped to a painful defeat.

Aberdeen: Lewis, McCrorie, Watkins, Brown, Ramirez, Hedges, McGeouch, Ojo, Ferguson, Campbell, Bates
Substitutes: Woods, McGinn, JET, Hayes, Gurr, Samuels, Longstaff

Motherwell: Kelly, Mugabi, McGinley, Solhojm, Ojala, Maguire, O’Hara, Goss, Roberts, Van Veen, Watt
Substitutes: Fox, Carroll, Lamie, Woolery, Slattery, Grimshaw, Shields

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