Celtic v Hibs: Steven McLean gets whistle, why selective VAR isn’t working

Celtic face Hibernian on Saturday as the Scottish Champions return to league duty after the focus last weekend was on the Scottish Cup. Last Saturday saw Ange Postecoglou’s men thump Hearts 3-0 at Tynecastle in the quarter-final to set up a Glasgow Derby meeting with theRangers at Hampden at the end of April. But for new Celtic’s entire focus is on the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park against Hibs on Saturday afternoon.

Hibs have had ten days off and will be fired up as they continue to chase down a faltering Hearts for the third place spot in the league. But Ange Postecoglou’s side will be looking to maintain their perfect home record in domestic football this season and will have the backing of almost 60,000 supporters who will roar them on to secure another three points as the finishing post gets ever closer.

Today the Scottish FA have confirmed the appointment of Steven McLean as referee for Celtic’s game against Hibs on Saturday. McLean will be assisted by Frank Connor and Michael Banks and Fourth Official duties will be undertaken by Grant Irvine.

In Clydesdale House, Gavin Duncan will be on VAR duties and he will be assisted by Graham Chambers.

As you are well aware, Celtic have been in fine form of late. Their impressive display at Tynecastle was comprehensive, even if Kevin Clancy and Willie Collum on VAR missed a penalty in the first half. Alistair Johnston entered the box and was taken down by a late challenge from Andy Halliday. Remarkably, there was no check.

Kevin Clancy failed to award Celtic a penalty at Tynecastle and Willie Collum on VAR duties didn’t even review the incident.

Curiously, Robbie Neilson this time was unable to comment on the issue, which is at odds with his position of constantly scrutinising refereeing decisions involving his side’s matches against Celtic.

Twice this season Celtic have been denied stonewall penalties at Tynecastle – James Forrest back in October and Alistair Johnston at the weekend and on both occasions VAR choose not to get involved. Yet it seems to be the case that no stone is left unturned at every single Celtic goal as they desperately look for an excuse to disallow it.

William Collum was on VAR duties at Tynecastle last weekend and failed to review the Celtic penalty claim. 

Many supporters reckoned that the introduction of VAR would see the decline in the Honest Mistakes era – sadly that has not been the case. Indeed many would argue with reasonable cause that the opposite has been the case.

When you factor all this in, it makes the Celtic record this season in domestic football all the more impressive. Ange Postecoglou’s side have so far dropped just five points this season while Brendan Rodgers’ Invincible side in season 2016/17 dropped eight over the course of the season (four draws).

If the current Celtic side win nine of the remaining ten league matches, with the other game ending in a draw then they will surpass the points total the Invincibles achieved. Although we’d rather have the ten wins please Bhoys!


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About Author

Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He goes to all the games and is a Law Graduate. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

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