ANGE POSTECOGLOU has displayed remarkable constraint over David Turnbull’s stoppage-time red card in the 4-1 win over St Johnstone at Parkhead at the weekend.
The Celtic manager has stated he will no longer dig deeply into VAR decisions – and that included the nonsensical ruling last week when a perfectly legitimate goal from Liel Abada was ruled out in the 2-1 win over Livingston, as CQN reported in our match summary.
The new technical system was only introduced on October 22 when the champions had to overcome Hearts, the onfield referee and the team in the studio to claim a thoroughly deserved 4-3 victory at Tynecastle.
Home defender Michael Smith did a fair impersonation of a basketball player when he stopped a James Forrest cross, but neither match official Nick Walsh nor VAR assistant Steven McLean saw anything untoward. Play continued with Celtic denied a clear and obvious penalty-kick.
WALLOP…Giorgos Giakoumakis gets a sore one in the face as the boot of Dundee United’s Craig Sibbald lands.
Postecoglou’s wry smile on the touchline told its own story.
An Anthony Ralston goal was ruled out on some flimsy pretext of a prior infringement before he bulleted a header beyond Craig Gordon.
Liel Abada netted late on, but it was chalked off and there were no VAR lines to show anyone how the Israeli could possibly be offside.
Oh, and the Edinburgh club were awarded two penalty-kicks – one VAR-assisted – although, to be fair, they did look like legitimate claims.
Teething problems? There has been a landslide of dodgy decisions against Celtic over the two months and four days since it was brought into play.
Before anyone dusts down the tired, old ‘paranoia’ and ‘chip-on-the-shoulder’ claptrap, please allow CQN to flag up an incident from November 5 against Dundee United – yes, the afternoon when bewildered Alexandro Bernabei was penalised for handball while looking in the opposite direction.
VAR REVIEW…referee Kevin Clancy looks again at the David Turnbull – Remi Matthews incident on the monitor.
The bemused Bernabei was also booked for his indiscretion while the Argentinian defender must have been wondering what he had got himself into in this strange land where such decisions are made and penalty-kicks gifted to the opposition.
In fact, the South American got another close look only a week later at whistler David Munro’s decision, aided by VAR assistant Euan Anderson, to award Ross County a preposterous penalty-kick when the ball rebounded onto Matt O’Riley’s arm.
However, back at the match against the Tannadice club, there was a high-boot challenge on Giorgos Giakoumakis by Craig Sibbald that floored the Greek striker.
Referee David Dickinson, who had a good view of the incident, saw nothing wrong and waved play on. Walsh, the official who had created chaos and confusion in the capital the previous month, pored over the collision in the VAR studio.
He reviewed the wayward studs-up clattering and decided no action should be taken. It was an incomprehensible judgement.
SEEING RED…Kevin Clancy dismisses David Turnbull as Callum McGregor pleads his team-mate’s case.
Fast forward to Saturday at the same venue when Turnbull, only on as a 79th-minute substitute for Aaron Mooy, went for a left-wing cross from Filipe Jota with an admitted high boot.
The midfielder, who could hardly be termed a clogger, clashed with keeper Remi Matthews deep in stoppage-time with the points already secure.
It was clear there was no intention to endanger an opponent. It was not a malicious challenge. The players collided and shotstopper went to ground. The first person to make sure he wasn’t in distress was Turnbull.
Referee Kevin Clancy saw fit to flash a yellow card. That seemed harsh, but VAR assistant Mike Roncone, tucked away in a Glasgow studio, decided the punishment was not sufficient.
The match official was instructed to review the coming-together on the touchline monitor and we all knew what was going to happen next.
BEMUSED…David Turnbull heads for the tunnel after his red card.
Clancy returned to the field, cancelled the yellow card and produced the red. Off went Turnbull with a wry smile while Postecoglou again was left shaking his head.
What was so different from Sibbald’s boot in the face of Giakoumakis and that of Turnbull on Matthews?
The Dundee United man didn’t even get a finger-wagging while the Celt was dismissed.
So, we are compelled to ask: Is there one law for Celtic and another for the rest of Scottish football?
We can go on, but we’re sure you may have more important things to be getting on with on Boxing Day.
There is a game at Ibrox looming on January 2. What can possibly go wrong?
Watch this space.