AM I alone in not getting overly excited at the SFA’s announcement there will be changes in VAR operations in the new season?

I feel no sudden urge to uncork the champagne, dust down my dancing shoes, look out the bunting and organise a street party in celebration of Andrew Dallas and Greg Aitken hanging up their whistles (not before time, I hear you say).

The officials no longer have to make sure they have nice, crisp creases in their match day clobber while making certain the pea in their little silver instrument is in fine working order before they set out to bewilder and bemuse managers, players and fans alike when they step over that white line.

Your guess is as good as mine as to how a threadbare, battered pea survived as Dallas went into overdrive on an interesting afternoon at Ibrox in early February 2019. The spectacle manifested into a penalty-kick fest as the puffed-out pontificator’s shrill screeches drowned out overhead aircraft as he pointed to the spot FOUR times, much to the joy of the home side, in general, and James Tavernier, in particular.

There was, of course, dismay and befuddlement for poor St Mirren, the team on the receiving end of some head-scratching and monotonously repetitious decisions.

Messrs Dallas and Aitken have now been withdrawn from the frontline and been granted the lofty status as the first dedicated Video Assistant Referees in the country.

Actually, they are now football technology’s version of the Prisoner of Zenda after being banished to a season, at least, in the confines of the multi-screened offices of Clydesdale House. No more pompous posturing, pointing to the spot or brandishing yellow and red cards for these guys.

The intrepid duo will now “step back from their onfield duties,” as the game’s governing body term it, obviously disregarding any pretence at technospeak.

I hope neither Dallas nor Aitken take this personally, but I hope I never hear their names again.

Alas, with 38 league games to play and the possibility/probability of nine Cup-ties in the domestic knock-out competitions, I have the notion the odds may be stacked against that happening.

There’s probably a better chance of the sun being blotted out by flying pigs, all taxes abolished and interest rates scrapped.

The Premiership will officially kick off in the east end of Glasgow at 12.30pm tomorrow with the first revolution of the ball when the action gets underway as Celtic host Ross County in the champions’ quest for a twelfth Premiership title in 13 years.

Like it or not, the nation’s title kings and the Highlanders will be acting as guinea pigs. Nick Walsh will be the referee at Parkhead while Aitken will be launched into his new VAR duties.

We have also been informed of the creation of something called a VAR Independent Review Panel. It will consist of former players, managers and coaches who will meet on a regular basis to “discuss and give an independent view of VAR interventions and non-interventions”.

The suits in the corridors of power at the Hampden HQ insist the innovations are their “commitment to improved transparency and efficiency and knowledge and understanding of VAR.”

Ho hum. Forgive me, please, for my cynicism. I feel as though I have seen this movie more that once. And the prequel, And the sequel. And the entire franchise.

Remember the groundbreaking technology that was introduced to an expectant nation on October 22 last year as VAR came into play?

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE VAR SO FAR? Reaction from Ange Postecoglou at Tynecastle.

Mayhem ensued when Celtic visited Tynecastle and Hearts were awarded two VAR-assisted penalty-kicks, courtesy of Steven McLean in the Glasgow office. Home defender Michael Smith then displayed his impressive basketball prowess when he prevented a cross from James Forrest reaching its intended target.

Penalty-kick? Of course, it was. After lengthy deliberations, though, play resumed without such a punishment either from the onfield official or his sidekick at the controls.

On the touchline, an astonished Ange held his head in hands at the decision. It was probably a coincidence that the Greek-Australian packed his bags eight months later and quit Scottish football forever.

Anthony Ralston had what looked like a perfectly good goal ruled out and new technology wasn’t even called into play when Liel Abada also netted a legitimate goal in the fading moments on the afternoon VAR was introduced to Scottish football.

Referee that day? Nick Walsh. The same Nick Walsh who will be in charge tomorrow. Gulp.

Fasten your seatbelts, folks, looks like we are in for another bumpy ride.

Click Here for Comments >

About Author