WITH the curious exception of referee Nick Walsh and Steven McLean in the VAR control room, just about everyone else who witnessed Michael Smith’s blatant handball believed it was a stonewall penalty-kick for Celtic.

Only misguided souls, mischief-makers or even ex-Hearts players turned TV pundits thought the defender’s clear infringement was unworthy of a spot-kick and the match official, with a clear of the view incident, was absolutely correct in his decision.

Thousands at the game and an audience of millions watching on worldwide satellite TV weren’t in complete accordance with those sentiments which occurred in first-half stoppage-time during the champions’ well-deserved 4-3 triumph at Tynecastle.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, REF? Captain Cameron Carter-Vickers queries one of Nick Walash’s decisions.

If, for argument’s sake, Celtic had been awarded the stick-on spot-kick, the immediate question would have been: Who takes the responsibility?

Extraordinarily, the champions have NOT been awarded a solitary penalty either at home or in Europe this season in SEVENTEEN games.

Postecoglou points out: “I keep hearing opposition managers say we get everything. The only penalties we have taken so far are in training.”

In fact, the last time the Parkhead side did get one was over six months ago in the 7-0 league win over St Johnstone on April 9 at Parkhead.

The Hoops were already 3-0 ahead by the time Reo Hatete was crudely brought down by a panicking Saints defender and ref Andrew Dallas had no option but to point to the spot.

WAIT FOR IT…Josip Juranovic prepares to take Celtic’s penalty-kick against St Johnstone on April 9.

READY, STEADY, GO…Juranovic swings back his trusty right foot.

SAINTS AND WINNERS…Daizen Maeda and Josip Juranovic celebrate the Croatian’s penalty-kick strike against the Perth Saints. Little did they know they would still be waiting for another spot-kick over six months later.

Josip Juranovic made his usual excellent job of his execution as he tucked the ball behind Zander Clark.

The Croatian international, of course, was on the substitutes’ bench in Edinburgh with Anthony Ralston taking over the right-back duties which prompted the question of which player would have stepped up to take the kick.

Hatate? Matt O’Riley? Giorgos Giakoumakis? Daizen Maeda?

Perhaps all will be revealed when Celtic are awarded a penalty-kick this season.

Maybe VAR will rectify as puzzling situation. Maybe new technology will flag up an infringement that will lead to the much-awaited award.

Maybe the sun will be blotted out by flying pigs.


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