Celtic, Take Note: VAR Continues To Threaten Our Season And Last Night Proves It.

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During our own exit from the League Cup we were the victims of a shocking decision which could have affected the outcome. Hardly any of us made a big song and dance about it at the time; what would have been the point?

Besides, we knew in our hearts that we got what we deserved that day. Still, it rankles that a dire refereeing decision cost us, and might have been why we lost the game. As a warning of things to come, we should have heeded it.

We got a decision at Ibrox, but I refuse to consider that as a factor here because that decision was right and it had to be brought to the attention of officials who were well placed to spot the foul on Lagerbeikle and did nothing about it. Had it been down to them, we’d have conceded that goal and who knows where we’d be right now?

VAR can help when its operators are honest. More honest, anyway, than the officials on the pitch. That’s one of the problems, because the officials on the pitch can still influence games in all sorts of ways.

Willie Collum’s “error” last night in not awarding a foul against Sima for his blatant shove on a Livingston player was obvious enough, and a clear-cut example of the Honest Mistake. But for VAR not to overrule it, that’s just beyond the pale, that tells you that we’ve created a whole new set of problems for ourselves here with this.

That was the sort of incident VAR was brought in for, and although I was not in the least bit surprised that Martindale did not put up much of a fight, alarm bells inside Celtic Park should be clanging loudly. The officials are going to make damned sure that Ibrox is in that final and has the best possible chance to win it, just as they made sure we wouldn’t be.

We should be insisting that the way these decisions are made is as transparent as possible, and it is well overdue that officials face sanctions for getting these decisions wrong.

It will not eliminate every error, and since we have officials who are pretty bad at their jobs it will certainly not make up for that handful of them who just don’t understand the rules … but those making Honest Mistakes will know that they can no longer do so with impunity.

That decision last night is one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time.

That the VAR officials permitted it when they had multiple viewings of it and the time to make their minds up and still didn’t think it was a free kick would be termed incomprehensible except that we can comprehend it all too well and understand exactly how that decision was arrived at.

Sutton joked last night about Livingston banging on the SFA’s door and demanding an explanation, as Ibrox is said to have done about the decision we got. Whilst Martindale will consider it no big thing and move on to his next appearance on one of their fan podcasts, those above him at Livingston should absolutely want answers and I hope they try for them.

But Celtic is now tantalisingly close to the claimed Ibrox trophy haul, and although we know that Sevco claiming the trophies of Rangers is a fraud against football, the best thing we can do is render it irrelevant by overtaking the lie.

The SFA knows this and they will bend over backwards to ensure that Ibrox has at least one piece of silverware … and that affects us because we’ve been the victims of that in this competition and the Scottish Cup awaits us.

The league is different. Over the course of that campaign, I think we’re just going to be too damned good, and even the officials might not be able to stop us if we hit top form and start to put teams away as easily as we all know that we’re able.

The Scottish Cup will be perilous though, and for first Hearts and whoever the Ibrox club gets in the final (if they make it; officials can only do so much but you wouldn’t bet against The Mooch finding a way to blow it all on his own) the risks are more than obvious.

Celtic can either be passive, and allow it, or we can start putting down some recommendations and lobbying for people to support them. Almost all of the clubs in this country complain about bad decisions and the dire state of officiating; this should be like pushing on an open door.

The one problem is that we’ve all thought that for a long time and we’re still here.

We need to get real about this, because the stakes are sky high.

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  • Kevan McKeown says:

    Imo Collum has let all the intimidation get to him. He’s never been the best official (tae say the least) tho nothin more than that. As far as these other suspect, bent officials go, ah totally believe they pick their moments carefully in givin them ‘help’. It can’t be seen tae be too obvious, tho they know exactly what they’re doin and have tae do it carefully. Thought VAR might’ve helped cull this, tho disnae look like it. Said before, because it’s almost impossible tae ‘prove’ an official’s bein biased, (unless he actually came out and told somebody), doesnae mean it’s no happenin. So as usual, we’re stuck wi that.

  • Johnny Green says:

    Agreed, we should not be meekly accepting these erroneous decisions, Celtic should be screaming BLUE murder and insisting that the VAR officials explain their reasoning. If they cannot justify their decisions, then they get punished, fined or whatever it takes.

    This has got to be stopped, VAR is workable, but only as long as it is working properly, transparently and justly.

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      Celtic could easily… very well… be screaming Blue murder about decisions on Saturday Johnny and will probably have very good reason to be –

      But as we all know… Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhuuuuuuuuuussssssshhhhhhhh… They bloody won’t !

  • Michael McCartney says:

    Another case of Rangers intimidating a referee into becoming their poodle, they have complained by letter to the SFA about Collum when he had the gumption to give a couple of controversial decisions against them.
    Add to that the VAR official Nick Walsh as a PE teacher has a working relationship with the Ibrox teams training ground, the Auchenhowie Rangers Academy boys attend the local school where he teaches.
    That decision last night was ridiculous although I don’t think it would have made much of a difference to the result. Livingston’s tactics of defending deeply and lumping the ball up the park aimlessly to one guy against two defenders was never going to work.
    The statistics surrounding The Rangers and penalties awarded and conceded is mind blowing, but you’ll never see anything mentioned in the sports columns of the mainstream press in Scotland.
    If Celtic ignore this blatant cheating, someday when the skill difference between the reams isn’t so large, it will really do them damage.

  • John Copeland says:

    They have a snick o meter in cricket to determine if a batsperson is out or not . All digitally administered! What we need here in Scawlin is a push o meter,or a trip o meter implemented with ultra modern technology to try and maintain a semblance of legality as the game is descending into a long lasting farce and embarassment. Oh ,and as a little aside ….why are some VAR lines either 50 yards pre or past the actual incident on a screen ? Why are the ‘lines ‘ not exactly in a true line with the problems in question? It would not be down to the fact that we have the 50 bob version of VAR while the rest of Europe have the latest state of the art technology …would it ? It’s only good old second class football minnows Scotland … nobody cares as long as one clumpany is winning ,at all costs !

  • Stewart says:

    Deff kind of call that all to often is ignored since the latter part of last season it seems that team have been instructed to follow through with a hand or arm to positions backs in tackles, first seen it with can’t well and it’s continued,,, opposing sides do it plays stopped for free kick,,var will play big part to them over coming months

  • Therese Storrie says:

    Another Fergus McCann is needed You can be assured if he were involved, this would not be happening They wouldn’t even be relevant as the their loopy supporters think they are
    Grow a collective pair board members Speak up !!!!

  • Seamus Campbell says:

    Last night was a reflection of having a coward in the middle and a supporter on VAR.
    I would like to see Celtic very publicly call for an overhaul of the referee set up, including declaring allegiance, and let’s hear why anyone would have an issue with that. It would be for the good of the game, clear away any perception of bias and unless you were happy with things the way they are, this call should receive universal support.

  • paul obrien says:

    I think our board accepts this in as much as it keeps alive their business model of an “old firm “ both competing for honours which keeps attendances up and with it a nice dividend. It’s all about the money

  • UlyssesGunt says:

    “ The officials are going to make damned sure that Ibrox is in that final and has the best possible chance to win it, just as they made sure we wouldn’t be.”

    You stated a few days ago , you call them “ the Ibrox club “
    Clearly you don’t … so which entity are you referencing, as in Ibrox getting to a final !

    It’s sevco or the rangers …

  • Andrew Lamb says:

    Agreed it was a shocking decision in the context of modern rules, I honestly don’t believe these decisions are made with any malice I can only think Collum has felt there wasn’t enough contact for the defender to go down. I for one would love to see players punished for diving or play acting because someone has touched their back as its going to be the ruin of football if it isn’t already. Also not many protests from Livi tells a story.

    • John orourke says:

      Come on no malice? That has to be one of the easiest decisions a referee will ever have to make , blatent cheating nothing less

  • Tam says:

    The Grade 1 referee using all the VAR technology made a glaringly obvious “honest” mistake. That same grade 1 referee “will” referee a game without any technology ….I shudder to think about it…..I can’t stop him… and the people “SFA/SPFL” who can stop him…. won’t….. because they are delighted with the “honest” mistake

  • Johnno says:

    For those of us outside of Scotland, it has for years made it harder to defend our club, when the census remains as the Scottish game been looked upon as just muck.
    This is the level that cheating officials has inflicted upon the game.
    Very hard to make a case against it, and only have to look upon the decisions Scottish teams face in European competition, to highlight just how big the problem still remains.
    For my own sanity, I have to look upon our games moreso with looking at the chances we create and convert, which should outnumber the ridiculous cheating decision making, we face on a nearly weekly basis.
    Have to do so, because focusing upon such a cheat is no way to get any form of enjoyment from a match.
    Spent way too much of my life in bad humour about such decisions and the impact they bought upon myself.
    I had to make that conscious decision, as nothing stands to ever change, in fact getting worse.
    How can Scottish football throw up more ridiculous decisions on a potentially weekly basis, than the EPL can do, with having to play over 3 times as many games?
    Now I actually welcome the likes of yourself James, amongst others who continue to call out this farce, and the impact it’s having upon the whole of the Scottish game, where only 1 scummy club benifit.
    Only highlights the level of corruption that exists within the Scottish game, and how can the product of Scottish football ever grow, when such corruption exists within it?
    Left unchallenged as it is currently, and the half empty stadiums will remain.
    Who really can claim to be entertained when cheats want to take centre stage, especially when honest mistakes are never even in the reckoning since the introduction of VAR?

  • Davie says:

    Drop the paranoia guys, Celtic need to score more goals, we need to make opportunities to score the goals, going back to the pass sideways pass backwards to retain possession is Brendans way of playing and its dam boring.
    A lot of the fast moving urgency has been lost, the transfers of Jota & Starfelt did not create that.
    Signing injured players to cover injured players is absurd.
    There are positives that need to be worked on.
    Recently playing Palma on the left & Maeda on the right weakened two positions instead of one, play to a players strengths is a must.
    Playing Forrest ahead of young Vata recently is just a slap in the face for the youngster, no wonder he wants to leave.
    Forrest has done his bit for celtic but he is done.
    So drop the ref / var issues, cheer the team, the team only need to up their performance, create the chances and score the goals.
    Then there is nothing to be paranoid about.

  • Michael McCartney says:

    Davie, one of the causes of paranoia is anxiety and I can assure you over the years Scottish referees have been making me anxious, from Willie Syme and his son Davie, Tiny Wharton and his handshakes with John Greig before many games, Bobby Davidson and his grand larceny in the 1970 cup final against Aberdeen and quite a few other games. In modern times we’ve had Dallas senior and Dallas junior, the former sending sectarian jokes on the internet, Dallas the younger creating a record when awarding The Rangers 4 penalties at Ibrox against St Mirren. VAR in Scotland has only given today’s referees two chances to make “honest mistakes”.
    Of course we can criticise some tactical, positional and transfer decisions, but this doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to the statistics, especially regarding penalties awarded and conceded which favour in a big way only one team in Scotland.
    Of course if you’re a lot better than your main opponent you’ll more than likely overcome this cheating, the problem becomes more serious when your only a little better than them.
    Davie if you’re a Celtic supporter and you’re quite chilled about paying good money to watch attempts being made to rig games by some Scottish referees only too benefit one team, then carry on regardless.

    • Michael Collins says:

      Michael, did you know that during Jock Steins heyday. R H Davidson who you mentioned, refereed 8 games between the original Rangers and Celtic. 5 Victories for Rangers and 3 draws.

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