The story of the season was all there for us to see at a park in Paisley yesterday. St Mirren dropped deep, they neither wanted not retained the football, yet they somehow managed to get a kick inside the Celtic Penalty area.
That was enough to knock the ball against Greg Taylor’s arm. The referee missed the incident but from the moment the replays were shown until play eventually broke for a VAR intervention several minutes later, we knew the penalty was in the post.
St Mirren have the secret sauce to stifle Celtic. It worked when we last visited in September, 80% possession and a 2-0 defeat. It worked again in the first half, but Charles Dunne’s red card made holding onto the task impossible. Kyogo pounced on his short pass back, Dunne brought the stirker to the ground, it was a red card and another correct decision to rescind the penalty award, as Dunne released the player inches from the 18-yard line.
It took 11 second half minutes for Celtic to equalise, 11 minutes with Liel Abada on the field. He looked like a player released from shackles, constantly darting back and forth looking for the ball, always looking for the goal. For me, he starts on Wednesday.
Great to see Matt O’Riley get a goal too. There is so much to his game already, regular goals is needed to turn him into the finished article.
So far, so good for VAR. If a player fouls an opponent while attempting to play the ball and concedes a penalty, a yellow, not a red card should be shown. If, however, the player fouls while making no attempt to play the ball, the card should be red. Think back to Jeremie Frimpong in the 2019 League Cup Final.
Alex Gogic grabbed Oh’s shirt, the player fell and VAR again called on the referee to review. It was another stonewaller. Don’t get me wrong, in no way wanting to punish a team that can actually give us a difficult game when they are already beaten, but Gogic’s offence was a textbook red card that had been reviewed by VAR. How on earth………