I try to apply two simple standard questions as to how I judge refereeing decisions in Scotland; if the decision affected Celtic, how would I have bet on it going, and if it had affected the club at Ibrox how would I have thought that it would shake out?
Celtic might have conceded that penalty at the end of the Ibrox game today, but we wouldn’t have got it that late in a match in a hundred years on the back of an incident as innocuous as that.
And just as I knew they would get it I knew that it would never have been given against them, and especially not in a competition where they haven’t conceded one in nearly two full campaigns worth of games.
I don’t know if I’d call that cheating, because, technically, it follows the rulebook and the guy had Goldson’s jersey … but I see that in penalty boxes every week and refs don’t care and VAR ignores it 99% of the time.
I feel like my views on VAR are well known by now … but we’d see spot kicks in every game if we were penalising for that every time.
I’m not here to sing the blues on behalf of Hearts; they are not even bang average, they are rank rotten and deserved to get beat. Which isn’t the same as suggesting that Ibrox’s team deserved to win because I thought they were stinking and could have played all day without a goal until VAR intervened on their behalf.
No, Hearts are like a bad comedy act and Naismith is a manager desperately in need of being put out of his misery.
But they’ll wait until they’ve lost the League Cup semi-final before Ann Budge even bothers to discuss it. When does the person at the top of that house take on an iota of responsibility for the dire state the club is in? In her case, never, but she’ll sack the managers she hired with abandon all the live long day.
No, this is another example of VAR’s officials scrutinising decisions involving Ibrox and us until the find the ones that suit their agenda.
Of course, their club was going to get that decision today, and they were scouring every 50/50 incident looking for an excuse to hand them something until Hearts provided one for them with a minute left.
And in a Scottish game where the decision has been taken not to add on all the time that’s been lost in a game, Ibrox got a penalty 30 seconds after the time added on ran out in the first half and they were given nine minutes to win the match. We got three at Easter Road yesterday. Three. And therein is the issue in a nutshell.
John Beaton, refereeing at Ibrox. I mean, what do you expect?
There isn’t a single person in Scottish football who doesn’t know what John Beaton is and we can go back and list the incidents in which he’s done his brethren favours beyond counting … his pals in the VAR box did the rest and they must have been pissing themselves laughing when they called him over to look at it. I wonder if they even gave him some joshing about maybe not awarding it?
I would say that a precedent had been set today by that, but what a ludicrous statement that would be.
You will watch incidents worse than that happen in penalty boxes all over Europe in the next seven days and beyond and neither refs nor VAR will intervene. It’s one of the rules which officials routinely discard in the rough and tumble of the game.
That could happen to us a hundred times and we’d never get that call. Hearts wouldn’t have got that today if their player had been wearing a “jersey-cam” which got torn off in the incident and the footage showed the Ibrox player throwing the thing away.
Naismith is moaning about it.
He thinks it changed the game and in this case he’s right being that the game was almost in injury time when it happened, but he’s only got himself to blame as well for sticking to a negative approach and inviting them on, a tactic which has surely been tested to destruction by now and which did his predecessor no favours.
No, the time for Naismith’s complaints was when he saw who the match officials were today and his club should have been objecting long before that.
Because they do this so consistently when they come up against Celtic and drop something late; they will always find something to blame refs for, but where’s the reform plan from these clubs?
They say they “expect” this treatment; what they actually mean is that they accept it, and their self-imposed lowly status and that’s why they’re in this mess.
But Ibrox is no better.
Their manager is happy with the performance today! If I was in his shoes I’d have thanked the officials and moved on. Because his team was awful and without a little help from their friends today his jacket would already be on a shaky nail.