“The referee said the VAR said it was close to his body,” Greg Taylor

Greg Taylor summed up yesterday’s hugely significant 4-3 win over Hearts in the media room at Tynecastle yesterday afternoon, ahead of the day getting even better for Celtic with the news that theRangers could only draw at home to Livingston.

Taylor was an unlikely goalscoring hero for the Hoops but who cares a jot about that? Certainly none of the 1200 Celtic supporters who packed the away corner, while so many seats were curiously empty in the same stand that could have accommodated a much larger Celtic support. Hearts join the list of clubs in the Scottish Premiership who prefer empty seats rather than paying punters, but it is their call.

“It was a big goal and an important three points. The game was end-to-end all day. It is always difficult at Tynecastle, the crowd are on top of you but we came up with the goods again.

‘We have shown throughout the manager’s term that we have so much character and so much belief from everyone that gets to play a part. Whether that is off the bench or from the start. It was important and delighted to get the three points,’ the Celtic match-winner said, as rported by Celtic Way, with access to the Hearts media room as they are actually The Herald/Glasgow Times and NOT Celtic fan media.

Invevitably Taylor was going to be asked for his thoughts on VAR after some disgraceful, even shameful decisions taken by the blue-nosed combo of Nic Walsh with the whistle and Steven McLean with the VAR screens.

Anthony Ralston’s goal should have stood but even if there had been an infringement Walsh should have waited a few seconds before blowing his whistle as he is supposed to do, then check if it should be a goal.  Celtic should seek an explanation from the Scottish FA.

The Hearts goal – the only one scored that wasn’t a VAR awarded penalty – was a tight offside call that was checked and rightly given the all-clear. The two penalties were ultimately correct decisions too, so there are no agruments from Celtic on these.

Compare and contrast the outcome when Celtic scored a goal through Liel Abada that was then flagged offside. We were given certainty on that Hearts goal when the technology allowed us to see the offside line but Celtic were not given the same courtesy for Abada’s goal. Why was this not shown? Celtic should demand to see the graphic now that proves that Abada was offside and the goal correctly ruled as offside.

But the clear and obvious decision of the day was the handball just after the Hearts first penalty of the afternoon was scored. The Hearts player realised himself, we have all been watching football long enough to understand that he knew it was a penalty and around the world that is a penalty every singe time. Ange Postecoglou clearly saw it too.

The two Hearts penalty claims took around ten minutes to clear up and the correct decsion reached. The first one was not blown for by the referee and without VAR would not have been given. There is an argument that the Hearts player bought it, or was high in Cameron Carter Vickers but on the tightest of decsions it was probably correct. No arguments from Celtic.

However compare and contrast with the way that the Hearts handball penalty claim for Celtic was immediately dismissed by both match officials, especially Steven McLean.

The referee was not even asked to look at it using the technology that they took an age on with the Hearts penalty monents before. Celtic should ask why it wasn’t checked by the referee on the advice of McLean, who let’s face it, has strong Ibrox connections and has a history of making big calls against Celtic, just as Ronny Deila.

A year after not seeing this as a handball and a penalty – everyone else at Hampden saw it clearly enough – McLean said to Sky Sports. ““Of course [it is a chance to atone for that error]. We learn from all experiences,” McLean told Sky Sports, as reported by The Herald. “Obviously that was an incident that was missed, it was disappointing on the day and I take ultimate responsibility for it. But we have a referee team and we share responsibility so it’s important that we learn from those incidents.

“But we use our experiences from both positive incidents and negative incidents just to move forward and use it as a learning opportunity and hopefully I have used that in the last season to perform well. I had a really consistent performance level this season and I think I have benefitted from all my experiences in my career and that is what has enabled us to be in this position.”

“For some reason, you knew it was going to have a bearing today,” Greg Taylor said. “It’s typical of Scottish football we all knew it was going to have an effect and it did to some extent but it did not have a bearing on the final result because we managed to get the win.

“To be honest both of Hearts’ penalties were penalties. Equally the handball could be one for us but the referee said the VAR said it was close to his body What can you say?”

On the time taken to reach penalty decisions in favour of Hearts, Taylor said: “Yeah, maybe that is just officials getting used to it. It is all everyone has spoken about this week, the big focus on VAR.

“As we get used to it more then hopefully it will help the referees and that will be a tool to improve the standard of our game. We want to play quick and play exciting football and not want disruption but equally if there are going to be stoppages you hope they are for the right reason to give you the decision to win the game.”

Remarkably Taylor was asked if he felt sorry for the Hearts player Lawrence Shankland who scored a hat-trick against Celtic yesterday but still came out on the losing side. “He takes his goals really well and gets a wee bit fortunate with the retake for the penalty but I am sure he will be delighted with his contribution. Regardless of the result we know there are improvements and we will do our review as we always do,”Taylor replied to that one from a hurting hack, whose day was obviously going to go from bad to worse over at Ibrox.

22nd October 2022. Greg Taylor of Celtic scores Celtics 4th goal during the cinch Premiership match at Tynecastle Photo Neil Hanna / Sportimage

On a more appropriate note, the Celtic match-winner was asked about that toe-poke of a poacher’s finish that won the game for the Champions and his brilliant celebrations that followed. “It was a great feeling and at that moment you don’t really think about whether the goal is going to be alright.

“Euphoria takes over your body and the fans deserved it because they backed us throughout 90 minutes. When you are on the bench you just feel nervous because you cannot have any effect on the game. So that was probably my overriding emotion, nerves. If you get on and can affect the game you tend to calm down.”

Edinburgh, Scotland, 22nd October 2022. Greg Taylor of Celtic scores Celtics 4th goal during the cinch Premiership match at Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh. Picture credit should read: Neil Hanna / Sportimage PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK SPI-1975-0014

Taylor also joked that he’s still shot-shy, and would have opted for a cut-back if an option was available, but no Celtic supporter would agree with him on that. “Yeah, but from two yards I don’t think there was the option of the cutback or I would have probably taken it,” the Celtic left-back said.

Taylor was asked if Celtic still had that Champions spirit about them this season and could that be used against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday and if the competition for places keeps the players on their toes.

On the first point Taylor said: “It is early to say that. We showed that last year when we were champions but we just try and focus on the next game. We have threatened a big result in the Champions League and not got there for whatever reason but hopefully, we can get there.”

And on the second: “Yeah, that is why you have got a squad. That is why the manager has said from the first day of the season he would trust and use his squad and that has not been any different. In the last few weeks, everyone has played their part whether from the bench or starting and that is the only way you will get success if everyone is fighting for the same cause.”

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk


  1. The Hearts penalty where CCV was involved; one second or thereabouts prior to this, Giakoumakis was fouled, so the penalty should have been disallowed and a freekick awarded to Celtic instead.

    When the referee was called over to the side of the pitch to view the incident he was only shown the CCV incident and not the foul on GG that immediately preceded it!

    The VAR team have a duty to view the whole incident and show it to the referee, not handpick the bits that suit!

    The red card decision at Ibrox that allowed the rangers back into a game they were struggling in was a joke! The referee had already called it right in awarding a freekick and a yellow card to a player commentators said was only just subbed onto the park, but on VAR’s appeal then changed the yellow card to a straight red card!

    One weekend of VAR in Scotland and we can already see how its going to be used and abused by those with a bias towards one particular club

  2. Need no biased people correcting biased refs get them from another country cause its only right our officials either not good enough or have to many agendas to call it referee on sat Walsh works in Murray Park it ridiculous off course he has an agenda no wonder Celtic_fc_1888 supporters are highlighting it and var ref has had to many bad calls against Celtic_fc_1888 these two are the worst people to be in charge of any celtic game are the sfa persevering hopefully they will be honest while Celtic_fc_1888 and there supporters all around the world watch biased calls against them uts so obvious sfa won’t show the offside decision that chop of a I thought was close enough to show the photo with the line are they going to show all the right ones and hide the wrong ones from the supporters who thought that would end all this biased calls it just makes it worse even show the managers Celtic_fc_1888 supporters will trust what there manager says and that’s the end of it so frustrating there’s no pressure on anybody making an honesty error but if you can’t make a right decision after looking at it again and again punters always say we have the benefit of replays different angles now refs have got it and are abusing it till they show the people who have agenda against there integrity prove there is nothing in it show us abda was offside.we know ref blew whistle to soon at ralston goal we can put that down to teething problems hand ball to close to body cop out it was a clear penalty the player Smith moved his arm towards the ball one pundit even came out with forest aimed for his arm shite mooy was the intended target ant the arm wasn’t there till player moved it there first must be physic we don’t need punters looking for excuses strike of your pundit list smiths an honest pro getting drag into something var ref and match ref dine what Smith hoped for dismiss a legitimate penalty outside this wee country 100 percent penalty