VAR controversy as Hearts benefit, two big calls against Celtic

Scottish football is welcoming VAR into the game this weekend. Last night saw the debut with St Johnstone beating Hibs at Easter Road but the controversy around the new system has already begun with Hearts benefiting from three calls as Celtic are left bemused about two decisions given against them that could’ve resulted in a half time lead at Tynecastle.

Celtic haven’t been at their best against the hosts but should’ve been 2-0 up before penalty calls were taken into account. Tony Ralston had the ball in the net minutes after James Forrest opened the scoring but referee Walsh blew for a foul, seemingly Giakoumakis on Kio. However, replays indicated that the pair were holding each other. It appeared to be a fine goal. As a result, the VAR ref decided not to overturn the on-field decision but Celtic should have been 2-0 up.

Hearts went level with Lawrence Shankland from the spot after Nick Walsh let his colleague Steven McLean in Glasgow adjudicate on whether Cameron Carter-Vickers had fouled Cammy Devlin. It was probably the right call to give the penalty.

However, minutes later, Michael Smith saw the ball hit his arm from a James Forrest cross. Bizarrely, the referee and the VAR operator decided that nothing untoward had occurred – despite the ball striking his arm in an unnatural position. The telling sign is that Smith sticks his arm behind his back as if to downplay that it has hit his arm. He knew it should’ve been a penalty.

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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