Stuart Kettlewell is loving the throwback confidence of Motherwell’s in-form striker Kevin van Veen.
The 31-year-old Dutchman became the first Well player to score 20 goals in a season since 2014 with his double in the 3-1 cinch Premiership win over Hibernian at Easter Road last Saturday.
Afterwards Van Veen, who joined the Fir Park club from Scunthorpe two years ago, said: “Hopefully I can keep it going.
“There are eight games left so I am hitting another 10 goals. I am that confident. You need to believe in yourself.”
That was music to the ears of Well boss Kettlewell, who said: “I don’t know who heard him after the game on Saturday but he obviously has a great belief in himself which is great.
“We are often reluctant to pitch out goals and tell people that you feel you are a good player and in good form.
“That was another thing of the past, strikers would talk about getting to double figures, getting to 15 goals, you don’t hear it very much.
“The bit I love about Kevin, since the day I came in he had a belief that he could go beyond 20 goals this season, that was his target.
“But when you listen to him he always speaks about the team and how his team-mates help him and how he can help his team-mates and that’s a great aspect because it is not just this individual wanting to reach his goal, he knows if he can do that it helps the football club and team-mates.
“Sometimes it takes personality and character to be able to pitch that number out there and say I believe I can do this.
“What you also need to have is a strength of character that if you don’t quite hit that mark or fall a little bit short that you can take the flak that might come with it.
“I think we are all scared that somebody might laugh at us, scared that someone might call us out.
“I am definitely not and I don’t think Kevin is either. He believes in himself, he believes in the guys around him and I love it.
“I have enjoyed listening to Kevin since I came in to the club but he has delivered on it as well.”
The victory over Hibs continued the Motherwell revival under Kettlewell, who has taken 13 points from 18 since taking over from Steven Hammell.
Motherwell are eighth in the table and nine points ahead of Ross County, who are in the relegation play-off spot.
Kettlewell admits Van Veen is as valuable to the Steelmen as Celtic striker Kyogo Furuhashi, Rangers attacker Antonio Colak and Aberdeen forward Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes are to their respective clubs.
He said: “Every team needs a goalscorer. Every team needs someone who you can trust to put the ball in the back of the net given an opportunity.
“Kevin missed two chances on Saturday, we expect him to score.
“He beats himself up for those ones at times as well because he knows he could and probably should take those opportunities.
“It is very easy to go into his shell again, isn’t it, and accept that he has missed two chances but he still gets two goals albeit via from the penalty spot and from a free-kick.
“But yes, to quote you with the top guys who score goals at other clubs, of course he is as valuable to us.”