BRENDAN RODGERS got it right following his observation on Hearts’ VAR-assisted penalty-kick in Celtic’s controversial 2-0 loss to Hearts at Tynecastle on March 3.

The Hoops boss was incensed by the performances of the match officials, referee Don Robertson and VAR controller John Beaton, after the hosts had been awarded a phantom spot-kick just before the interval to open the scoring.

Yang Hyun-jun had already been dismissed after 14 minutes following an intervention from Beaton.

The whistler had originally booked the winger for a high boot challenge on Alex Cochrane when he was instructed to review the incident. He returned to scrap the yellow card and flash red at the bewildered South Korean.

WRONG CALL…the ball brushes the left arm of Tomoki Iwata as Alistair Johnston and Stephen Kingsley clash. Referee Don Robertson played on, VAR intervened and Hearts were awarded a phantom penalty-kick to open the scoring. 

That was followed by another intrusion from Beaton after Robertson had taken no action when the ball brushed the arm of Tomoki Iwata as he and Alistair Johnston got involved in an aerial duel with opponent Stephen Kingsley.

Once again, the ref had a second look on his touchline monitor before coming back onto the pitch to award a penalty-kick to the hosts and Jorge Grant gratefully thumped the opening goal behind Joe Hart.

Afterwards, Rodgers, as CQN reported, said: “I never like to comment on officials. It is not something I do. I’ve been stood here long enough, but that cost us today. The officiating. From on field to John Beaton in VAR – that was really, really poor.

“If you put the still on that [Yang red card] it looks dangerous, but that is not the reality of the move. There is no force there. The ball has popped up. Okay, if it is a booking it is a booking. But that was really disappointing to go down to 10 men with that.

“They are not looking at the reality of the action and move. If you freeze frame in what we check to see and what we see all the time, of course, it looks dangerous, but that wasn’t the reality.

“You’ve got to see it in the whole context.”

OOPS…John Beaton and VAR get it wrong.

WHOOPS…a delighted Jorge Grant accepts the unexpected gift to send Joe Hart the wrong way from the spot for the opening goal.

Rodgers added: “But to receive the penalty against us. Wow! That was even worse.

“You watch the incident again, Tommo jumped and is on his way down.

“He’s not looking and been nudged a bit and that pushes his arm out. If that is a penalty, you will have penalties every single game and every single week in a match because of that.

“That there is absolutely shocking decision-making and I feel really, really disappointed. One, for the players and, two, for the supporters.

“We are down a man, we get a poor penalty against us and, all of a sudden, we are chasing the game.”

Rodgers also made a reference to the “incompetence” of the officials which led to a one-match ban – served in the 3-0 win at Livingston – with another suspended until the end of the season.

FRUSTRATED…Brendan Rodgers’ expression says it all at the end of a controversial loss at Tynecastle.

Now, almost TWO months after the Tynecastle debacle, the latest VAR Independent Review Panel have agreed with the Hoops gaffer that Beaton should not have got involved in the spot-kick flashpoint.

They deemed Robertson’s onfield decision was correct.

The reviewers, however, reckoned Celtic should not have been awarded an early penalty-kick when Yang crashed to the ground after a tackle from Cochrane. Adam Idah squandered the award when he drove the ball straight at keeper Zander Clark.

Bizarrely, there was no mention of the contentious Yang red card.

Among the list of the panel’s findings, they note:

Hearts v Celtic (3/3/24): VAR should have recommended an onfield review. Penalty decision should have been overturned – no foul and no penalty should have been awarded to Celtic.

Hearts v Celtic (3/3/24): Onfield decision correct, no penalty to Hearts. Handball should not have been awarded.

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