CELTIC are one of the teams involved in yet another cotroversy concerning VAR.

The Hoops have been on the receiving end of some strange decision-making since the introduction of new technology in their Premiership visit to Hearts on October 22.

Right from the start, the champions have seen the inconsistencies of the Video Assistant Referee system when they were denied a stonewall penalty-kick after Hearts defender Michael Smith blatantly handled a James Forrest cross.

Referee Nick Walsh, with Steven McLean in the control room, turned a blind eye to the incident and the Hoops were denied a spot-kick.

NO PENALTY…Hearts defender Michael Smith moves his hand to the left to stop a cross from James Forrest. Astonishingly, the Hoops were denied a spot-kick and the Tynecastle side escaped.

At the other end, the hosts were awarded two and Lawrence Shankland netted both, but the visitors still managed to battle to a 4-3 victory.

A late Liel Abada strike was ruled out without an explanation from the officials and Anthony Ralston was also out of luck with a header which was also nullified on the grounds of a previous offence which appeared only obvious to the man with the whistle.

The mindboggling decisions have continued right up to the break with Ross County gaining a ‘phantom’ spot-kick at Parkhead after a so-called Matt O’Riley handball. The Highlanders gleefully accepted the gift from referee David Munro and his VAR assistant Euan Anderson.

Thankfully, justice was done when David Turnbull equalised and Sead Haksabanovic claimed the winner.

With Ange Postecoglou’s men due to play Morton in the Scottish Cup fourth round tie at Parkhead on the weekend of January 21/22, more VAR controversy has emerged.

The SFA have been accused of “madness” by a former top match official after it surfaced that new technology will be utilised only at Premiership grounds.

YOU’VE GOT TO BE JOKING…a rueful smile from astonished Ange Postecoglou as Celtic are denied a stick-on penalty-kick in Edinburgh. 

Matches covered live on television by Viaplay – who have replaced Premier Sports – and BBC Scotland will have the system in place, but the vast majority of the other ties will be snubbed. Unless, of course, the clubs shell out around £10,000 from their own coffers.

The satellite channel and the Beeb have yet to announce their selections, but the Hoops’ encounter with the Championship outfit will be shown as will St Johnstone’s match against the Ibrox side in Perth.

Hibs v Hearts at Easter Road is another certainty to be screened and the intriguing confrontation between Darvel and Aberdeen in Ayrshire is bound to attract TV interest.

There is uncertainty over many of the other ties spread over the weekend and former top-flight referee Steve Conroy blasted: “It makes absolutely no sense. You wonder who signs these things off. It’s madness.”

The ex-whistler said: “It’s the application of the universal laws of the game. They should be applied in Darvel in the same way that they are applied at Celtic Park, for example, but it seems that’s not happening.

GETTING THE ELBOW…a rebound from Ross County’s Callum Johnson hits Matt O’Riley – enough for referee David Munro to award a spot-kick to the Highlanders. 

“So. the exact same incident could be called one way in Darvel and another way at Celtic Park because you have recall at Celtic Park.

“It’s not fair, it’s not equitable and it leaves a really nasty taste in the mouth.

“If Darvel can’t use it, then Celtic shouldn’t use it. You have to referee games at all games in the same way.”

Des Roache, another one-time official, speaking to the Get Involved Referee Podcast, added: “I think it’s ridiculous. It’s Scotland’s premier Cup competition, but there are going to be different parameters and different applications of the law.

“The Premiership teams can have it, but the lower league teams can’t, so that means a different set of circumstances in the same competition.

“That’s unfair.”

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