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VAR’s Early Introduction Will Not Solve Celtic’s Thorniest Issue With Refs.

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There was a little piece of breaking news today which, under normal circumstances, would cheer up the fans of this club. It was that VAR might be on the brink of being introduced, much faster than some people initially thought.

That would be good.

Sort of anyway.

But at the weekend we saw why it might not necessarily solve one of our biggest problems, which is the leniency of the officials when our players are getting kicked hither, thither and yon all over the football pitch.

That was a sterling example of it on Saturday, and I laughed out loud today when I was putting the stats together for the last article and I saw that the ref had awarded ten fouls against us to their nine.

They were more fouled against than we were?

It is hard to treat that kind of statistic seriously considering what those of us who saw the game watched.

We got well and truly rough-housed in that game.

Five of their players were booked, and that tends to suggest that the ref was not exactly shy about penalising them, but think on the apparent disconnect between their five bookings and us still having more fouls given against us. Anyone who watched it knows that they made many more challenges than the ones they were pulled up for.

And this is an issue which isn’t going to go away.

This is an issue which will come up over and over again, as it had come up repeatedly in times past.

We’ve talked about it enough times; major decisions are not the only way for officials to influence games.

The entire flow of an attacking team can be broken up simply by having the referee let their opponents away with anything they want, just as it can be broken up by officials who use any excuse to stop the match.

It will be good to get VAR introduced. The game here needs it.

It will change things in some very important ways.

The McGregor situation would have been looked at before the ref flashed the red card for one thing, and we’d have got that penalty everyone has been talking about … but the little things, the insidious moments involving cynical fouls where the ref allowed play to go and the players who are allowed three or four digs at your team before a card comes out, not to mention repeated time wasting and all the other stuff we saw … that’s not going to change as a result of technology.

For those things the changes have to start elsewhere; at the top of the rotten house that runs Scottish refereeing.

And that means the SFA.

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3 comments
  • Frank Connelly says:

    It was a mirror of the St Mirren game. A know on your previous piece you felt they didnt bully us give the stats but they were hammering into us all over the park and Motherwell were much the same. I think we can expect a lot more teams trying to kick us off the park as the league progresses. That said I still think we are a bit lightweight and lack a real dig in the middle

  • Martin Sloey says:

    Pretty much spot on. It’s one of the the most disgraceful, biased displays I’ve seen from a so called referee in all my time watching Celtic and I’ve seen a few bad ones! This guy hardly tries to hide I anymore and the silence from our club is baffling. VAR will solve some of these issues but unfortunately a lot of decisions will come down to personal interpretation and the people who will be in control of will still be of the same ilk as the ones who chose to use religion as a way of making themselves relevant.

  • Cheezydee says:

    VAR won’t change much. It’ll still be down to referees interpretation of incidents, albeit there will be more evidence if they were right/wrong. Plus, depending on the system, is it up to the referee if he wants to see/dismiss the VAR in the first place? Let’s face it though, we get decisions our way as well, but hopefully every incident in the game will be dealt correctly with every club. I suspect there will still be some issues such as whether a handball penalty was intentional etc. The controversies will still roll on

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