CALLUM McGREGOR has stepped into VAR Wars to insist Celtic are due some good calls between now and the end of the season to balance the incomprehensible decisions so far inflicted upon the champions.
However, the Hoops’ influential captain is also adamant referees should be given “the benefit of the doubt” and a period of time to get used to the introduction of new technology.
Ange Postecoglou has already stated he reckons there is “zero chance” of the decisions levelling out after stating the Connor Goldson double handball in the 2-2 draw at Ibrox in the first game of 2023 was a definite penalty-kick, as CQN reported.
WAITING GAME…Callum McGrgeor and Cameron Carter-Vickers look on as referee Kevin Clancy awaits instructions from VAR in the 4-1 win over St Johnstone at Parkhead last month.
There can be no valid argument that the Parkhead men have been on the wrong end of some critical decisions since VAR first came into being in the side’s hard-fought 4-3 win over Hearts at Tynecastle on October 22, a game in which the hosts were awarded two spot-kicks.
In the same fixture, the Hoops were denied a stonewall penalty when Michael Smith batted away a James Forrest cross. It was as blatant as the infringement by Goldson in Govan.
Over the period, the title kings have seen dodgy penalty-kicks awarded with decisions going against them in handball incidents concerning Alexandro Bernabei and Matt O’Riley in games against Dundee United and Ross County respectively.
Liel Abada had a goal disallowed in the crazy confrontation against Hearts and he also saw one chalked off against Livingston in equally bewildering circumstances. Filipe Jota had one wiped out against Motherwell at Fir Park which was never properly explained after a monitor went down.
There have been other strange calls like the one that saw David Turnbull dismissed in the 4-1 win over St Johnstone while an almost identical situation concerning Dundee United’s Craig Sibbald on Giorgos Giakoumakis went totally unpunished.
Considering the chances of decisions beginning to go the Hoops’ way, McGregor, now concentrating on tomorrow night’s Viaplay League Cup semi-final at Hampden, said: “We probably need a couple of good ones to go for us for that to happen.
JOY BHOY…Callum McGregor celebrates the winner against Aberdeen at Pittodrie last month after his lengthy spell on the sidelines.
“The law of averages would suggest that, over a season, it will.
“I think its (VAR) been pretty inconsistent, to say the least. We have probably been on the harsher side of quite a lot of the decisions in the majority of the league.
“Of course, it’s a difficult job for the officials. Let’s not make any mistake about that. But it’s there to help them. Maybe just a bit of clarification on ‘this is a penalty, this isn’t a penalty’ or ‘how are we going to implement it in certain situations’.
“We have to give them the benefit of the doubt and give them a period of time to let things settle and let them understand how it works properly live in the games.”
McGregor accepted the mystifying handball rules have caused confusion and chaos since their introduction and the team’s onfield leader, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “When we started playing with VAR, it teaches you to defend differently in the box.
“You have to, at all costs, keep your hands by your side when sometimes even that’s not enough.
“It’s difficult for the players, but it’s also difficult for the officials. The quicker we can get clarity on it and resolve the issue, hopefully you will start to see some consistency in the decisions and then over time it will level itself out.”
Tomorrow at Hampden would be a good place for common sense to kick in.