JOE HART must have been left mystified when St Mirren’s Toyosi Olusanya was red-carded following a dangerous challenge on the keeper in Celtic’s 3-0 win in Paisley.
The striker was originally booked by referee Nick Walsh before VAR intervened to instruct the official to review the incident on the touchline monitor.
There was no surprise when the whistler returned to the pitch, scrapped the yellow card and produced the red and off went Olusanya.
Saints gaffer Stephen Robinson accepted his player’s fate without argument while big-hearted Joe gave the culprit a cuddle before he was banished. The 36-year-old netminder has been in the game long enough to realise these things can happen in flashpoint moments in the midst of action.
COLLISION COURSE…Joe Hart is on the receiving end as St Mirren’s Toyosi Olusanya challenges.
The 75 times-capped England international No.1 bravely plunged from his line as a cross was fired in from the left at the same time the frontman lunged in an effort to make contact with the ball.
The movement recklessly endangered an opponent and the Saint was branded a sinner.
Hart, though, would have had every right to be puzzled. He may just have cast his mind back to September 23 last year in West Lothian when he was on the receiving end of a full-blooded studs-up challenge from Livingston forward Mo Sangare, a sequence that was highlighted by CQN at the time.
The former Manchester City star had raced from his line as a ball over the top eliminated his defenders as the Livi raider raced clear.
There was a collision just outside the box and trigger-happy referee John Beaton was swift to brandish a straight red card for the Hoops shotstopper.
FLASHBACK…Joe Hart is confronted with a high challenge from Livingston’s Mo Sangare in West Lothian as referee John Beaton (extreme right) views the incident on September 23.
CLOSE-UP AND PERSONAL…the image clearly shows the Livi striker’s studs-up challenge before Joe Hart makes any contact. The experienced keeper was still red-carded for the first time in his career.
It was Hart’s first ordering-off in a distinguished career which kicked off two decades ago with Shrewsbury Town and had been virtually blemish-free until Beaton entered the frame in the 29th minute of a typical tussle with the hosts on their horrible plastic pitch, a confrontation which the champions won 3-0.
CQN asked our readers to look again at the images. The home player’s foot was up with studs showing before Hart arrived on the scene. No argument; that’s reckless and dangerous play and an automatic red card for the Livi attacker.
If anyone was wiped out in the collision, it was Hart.
CELTIC HUDDLE…good sport Joe Hart gives St Mirren striker Toyosi Olusanya a hug to show there are no hard feelings after the flashpoint incident.
On that occasion, the referee needed guidance from his assistant on the touchline. He didn’t receive any. Nor was there any help from the VAR studios in Glasgow where Steven McLean had the advantage of being able to review the coming-together from a variety of angles on the multi-screens.
Perplexingly, he saw nothing untoward and Hart had to walk and face a one-game ban with Scott Bain taking his place.
That’s the same Steven McLean who instructed Walsh to have another look at the incident between Hart and Olusanya on Tuesday night.
VAR-cical, isn’t it?