AMID the entertaining chaos at Old Trafford yesterday, an incident passed without a murmur. Blink and you missed it.

There was a flashpoint moment during the beguilling bedlam of a captivating English Cup-tie that would surely have triggered a needless and lengthy delay in Scottish football where, despite what many observers may believe, the game is governed by the same set of laws.

The Manchester United v Liverpool spectacle see-sawed in breathtaking fashion and at one stage there was a fleeting and unconvincing appeal for a penalty-kick when a right-wing cross from Alejandro Garnacho deflected onto the hand of Andy Robertson, the visitors’ Scotland international left-back.

Onfield referee John Brooks was unimpressed and waved play on. Tim Robinson, supported by Chris Kavanagh, scrutinised the moment in the VAR studio. It took within 25 seconds for the officials to dismiss any notion of a ludicrous punishment although the ball clearly hit the defender’s arm which was away from his side.

Robertson wasn’t even looking in the direction of the quickfire ricochet and common sense took over. No necessary hold-up, let’s get on with the game.

PHANTOM PENALTY…Tomoki Iwata is looking in the other direction as the ball brushes his arm in the aerial duel alongside team-mate Alistair Johnston and Hearts’ Stephen Kinglsey.

Flashback to two weekends ago and Celtic against Hearts at Tynecastle. Not quite an identical situation, but there was the ball-to-hand occurrence when the unfortunate Tomoki Iwata was adjudged to have handled after an aerial duel between the Japanese star, team-mate Alistair Johnston and the hosts’ Stephen Kingsley.

As we are all aware, Iwata was completely oblivious to the flight of the ball when it brushed off his arm. Images in CQN highlighted the fact that not one of SEVEN Hearts players in the vicinity made even a feeble claim while referee Don Robertson had an unobstructed view of the incident.

That was when John Beaton, in charge of the remote controls, interrupted, despite the fact there had been no “clear and obvious error” from the onfield official.

It’s history what happened next. The game descended into utter farce with the visitors already down to ten men following a nonsensical red card for Yang Hyun-jun earlier in proceedings following another irritating and unfathomable VAR intervention from Beaton.

At Old Trafford yesterday, the actual match extended just beyond the two-hour mark and I can’t recall any occasion when there was a lengthy and unnecessary interference from VAR. Mercifully, Brooks was not invited to spend interminable moments looking at his touchline monitor.

If Robertson and Beaton had been in control of the encounter, there is a reasonable chance the game might have gone on until midnight.

THE SILENT SEVEN…not one Hearts player shouts for a penalty-kick while referee Don Robertson has a clear view of the incident at Tynecastle.

Brendan Rodgers, quite understandably, questioned the competence of the SFA’s perplexing double-act during the capital capers and will now face a trip to the sixth floor at Hampden a week on Thursday to answer a complaint from the game’s rulers.

Apparently, they appear none too pleased that the Celtic manager also mentioned the VAR guru by name, despite the fact the same organisation circulate the information well before the game is scheduled to be played.

In any case, I don’t think it is too difficult to identify the individuals who view the multi screens at Clydesdale House in Glasgow on matchday.

They’re the guys who turn up in the cars where the doors fall off, the roof flies into orbit and all four wheels part company with the vehicle.

A further clue is the size 20 shoes, the bright checked, oversized trousers, the spinning bow-ties, the garish wigs and false bulbous noses (of varying hue).


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