CELTIC had two goals disallowed in their 3-0 victory in Dingwall yesterday – both confirmed by VAR.
The first came early in the contest when Oh Hyeon-gyu tangled with Ross County striker Jordan White in an aerial joust.
The ball dropped to Liam Scales who swiftly whipped a low drive past keeper Ross Laidlaw. Referee David Munro was quick to bring a halt to the Hoops’ celebrations as he ruled the goal out.
The match official adjudged the South Korean had illegally used his right arm for leverage while challenging for the high ball.
FOUL…referee David Munro decreed Oh Hyeon-gyu had illegally used his right arm to gain leverage against County’s Jordan White. VAR agreed.
VAR, with Andrew Dallas scrutinising the incident on the multi-screens in the Glasgow office, agreed with the onfield official and that was the end of the matter.
On the half-hour mark, Daizen Maeda raced down the right wing before zipping over a low cross which was met by Oh from close range to divert an effort past the helpless Laidlaw.
There was a moment’s hesitation from the powerhouse frontman and his team-mates before they celebrated what looked like a perfectly legitimate opening goal against Malky Mackay’s side.
Eagled-eyed Dallas had spotted something in the lead-up and new technology got to work. An image appeared to show there was the width of an extremely thin piece of paper between the Japanese raider and a County defender.
No goal, decreed the assistant and it was back to square one for the champions. So much for the attacking team being given the advantage in such matters. Was Maeda offside? VAR says he was, others are still not so sure even after a photographic copy of the incident.
PROOF? More than a sliver of light would be required to convince anyone Daizen Maeda is ahead of the defender.
At least, the decision emphasised that the unseen Dallas, now a full-time VAR official, had brought his A-game to this duel in the Highlands. Nothing was going to escape his keen attention on this particular afternoon.
To be fair, he did entervene in the tenth minute to guide whistler Munro to the touchline screens to review a booking for James Brown following the right-back’s reckless challenge on Yang Hyun-jun.
The match official returned and ominously reached for a pocket to produce the yellow card, go through the scrapping motion and then flash a red to banish the defender.
A quick question, if we may, Mr Munro? You were only yards from the incident and had a clear view. Why didn’t you immediately send off the offender?
And while we are asking about some of the decision-making from this match, here’s another for you and Mr Dallas.
RECKLESS…David Munro gets a close-up view of James Brown’s wayward tackle on Yang Hyun-jun, but it took VAR to convince the referee that the foul was worthy of a red card.
Did neither of you witness the obvious shirt pull on Oh by County substitute Will Nightingale that should have seen the visitors awarded a stick-on penalty-kick?
It was goalless at the time – the 21st minute – when David Turnbull sent over a left-wing corner-kick and the Celtic forward was clearly impeded by his opponent as he struggled to make contact with the cross and his header soared over the crossbar.
Spot-kick, surely? Once again, the ref seemed to have a reasonable view and, of course, there is always VAR to clear up any conjecture. Nope, nothing to see here, play on was the joint decision.
NO PENALTY…Oh Hyeon-gyu is clearly pulled back by Ross County’s Will Nightingale as he tries to make contact with a left-wing corner-kick delivery from David Turnbull.
LOOKING ON…David Munro is perfectly positioned to view events as Oh and Nightingale are about to come together.
Cast your mind back a week ago today when Connor Goldson and Peter Haring were involved in a similar incident at Ibrox. It was 1-0 for Hearts and only a minute remained of regulation time when the home team’s centre-back went down a tad theatrically after a right-wing corner-kick had dropped into the crowded box
Referee John Beaton saw nothing and waved play on, but Alan Muir, operating VAR that afternoon, spotted something untoward and directed the onfield official to look again at the incident on his touchline monitor.
A quick glance was sufficient for the whistler to return to the field and award James Tavernier his second penalty-kick of the encounter. He had squandered the first-half attempt by clattering the ball off the post.
PENALTY…VAR step in to direct referee John Beaton to the touchline monitor to view an incident between Connor Goldson and Peter Haring at Ibrox. A spot-kick – the home club’s second of the afternoon – was awarded for a last-minute equaliser.
He equalised from the spot and the home team claimed a winner in the nine minutes of stoppage-time.
Is it any wonder shrewd football judges complain about the lack of consistency from VAR?
A shirt pull is a definite penalty-kick in the south side of Glasgow while a shirt pull is deemed perfectly fine and dandy without the hint of punishment in Dingwall.
Glad we got that cleared up.