Slattery and Spittal have stepped up in Van Veen's absence

Former Motherwell defender Stephen Craigan has been impressed with the form of midfield duo Callum Slattery and Blair Spittal, highlighting their influence in Motherwell's strong start to the league season.

Despite the 1-0 defeat to St Mirren on Saturday, Stuart Kettlewell's side sit third in the Scottish Premiership, three points behind Celtic in first.

"Most of the season, they've been the two star players," Craigan said on Sportscene. "When you lose someone like Kevin van Veen, you don't just lose his goals, but you lose his creative spark.

"The responsibility had to be taken on by someone else, and it's actually been taken on by two players. Callum Slattery has probably been Motherwell's best player to this point, and Blair Spittal has always been a tidy footballer.

"They're on the same wavelength, always looking for each other. The energy they show, the quality they show, it's a really good balance in that midfield with Lennon Miller."