VAR, the second goal, Jota goal and Starfelt challenge. It’s complicated


Let’s start with what the other side think.  Motherwell manager, Steven Hammell, complained about Celtic’s second goal.  Matt Penney took a throw-in and hit Sead Haksabanovic, who was returning to the field having run off with Penney.  Hammell wrongly claimed VAR did not look at the incident, when in fact, they scrutinised it before the goal was confirmed.

See below.  The ball is in play the instant any part of it goes above the line.  What you have to consider is, where is the ball when it hits Haksabanovic on the head?

Penney is well behind the line, Haksabanovic’s foot looks to be on the line, a football is 22cm.  The image is inconclusive.  Motherwell may have a case for a good moan, but even though we don’t know for sure what happened on this occasion, VAR was correct, it is only there to change clear mistakes, which this was not.

The challenge on Carl Starfelt by Josh Morris was studs up, caught the Celtic player on the foot (by definition, therefore, out of control) and dangerous.  Carl saw it coming and escaped more serious consequences.

There were mitigating circumstances.  Carl hesitated, inviting Morris into the challenge, so there was no intent.  I suspect that mitigation and the fact that Carl escaped injury led referee Willie Collum to caution the player.  We then revert to VAR’s role as an arbiter of a clear mistake.  On this occasion, they decided that threshold was not breached.  The referee should have awarded a red card first, or waited on guidance from VAR, before issuing a caution.

VAR takes the heat on this one, but it was a ref decision.  You may also like to consider an incident at Ibrox last month, when VAR upgraded a caution issued to a Livingston player, advising the referee a red was in order.  Personally, I’m happy for VAR to adjudicate either way on these decisions but would really prefer the same interpretation applied to teams in green and white, as to teams in blue.

For my money, the Jota goal was onside.  From what we saw on TV, VAR was provided inconclusive evidence.  Is it possible they do not have a camera at both ends of the ground?  Otherwise, why show us inconclusive pictures from 60 yards away?

My understanding is that VAR have access to their own cameras and to TV (the game was on PPV) at both sides of the ground.  I’m a tad suspicious we didn’t see the better freeze-frame.  The assistant flagged an offside and we have no clear evidence either way, so I have no case to argue.

I’m happy we have VAR, it provides scrutiny, which is welcome.  This has already made clear that we need better ‘trained’ referees.  Vilifying them at every turn (I get the irony here) will not help.  We also need better VAR.  Scotland has an entry level product.  England has better, the Champions League has best.  Football must find the money and press on.

My main concern for the technology is how ball-to-arm incidents are judged when we visit Ibrox on 2 January.  The portents on this one are not encouraging.

Matt O’Riley continues to grow as a player.  His ball-winning tackle inside the box before crossing for Kyogo to open the scoring was a measured treat.


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  1. Goal of the season chalked off.



    Still goal of the season though.



    Chilly weekend coming in TX – 3 points at paradise will warm me up.

  2. Superbru update for Round 15



    Some tricky results led to a closely grouped field with the leaders on 6.5 points and the bottom score of only 1 point.



    We have a 4 way tie for 1st place, a 4 way tie for “2nd” and 10 people sharing “3rd” place.



    1st- Pannysbhoy, 18 yard man, Big Archie and Jobo Baldie- all get yellow caps this week


    2nd- Call me gerry, Celticrollercoaster, Nawlite andHamilton Tim


    3rd- roy crappie, Gene, Bada Bing, Gary Postecoglou, vfr800, Auldheid, Tirconnell, A thing of Beauty, Travelbhoy and that eejit, SFTB



    We had 6 posters on one point. This achievement was reached by Billybhoy 13, Park Road 67, The Lurkin Tim, Craig 76 and Hairlikespaghetti but the computer only awards one wooden spoon and chose Hot Smoked as the Dumpling of all Dumplings this week.



    Overall, the positions are:



    1st- A Thing of Beauty- 93.5 pts


    2nd- Leggy- 91pts


    3rd- Ayrshire Tim- 87.5



    There is a 6 point gap to 4th place so someone needs to get a shift on.



    By the way, I believe our top pundit may be of the female persuasion, so our best hopes for protecting fragile male dignity, when it comes to fit punditry, may be Leggy and Ayrshire Tim. I fear we may be doomed.



    Having announced our £1000 donation last week, we have around £500 to allocate to prizes. I have chosen to set aside £150 of our 3 prizes (1st, 2nd and 3rd on the leaderboard) at the end of the year, leaving £350 for the 4 prizes at the end of the season (1st, 2nd and 3rd plus highest weekly total). Our final 6 fixtures this year are on Wednesday 28th December. After totting up scores we will award :-



    1st- £75


    2nd- £45


    3rd- £30



    The end of season prize pot will be larger and announced later.



    Thanks to all for your continued support. Next deadline is 12.30 pm on Saturday

  3. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    TexasTim – good point.



    Part of the frustration around the VAR call is it chalked off the goal of the season winner


    (No other goals across December to May need have applied).



    Real shame.

  4. The preponderance of decisions have gone against us, while our nearest rivals have benefitted from the use or lack of scrutiny from VAR.


    Let’s face the obvious. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and wears an orange sash, then the referee is a hun.

  5. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Seem to have got into a habit of struggling to build up a two goal cushion and allowing our opponents to stay in the game.


    And when you are not keeping clean sheets (2 in 15) it’s not a great combination.


    Been getting away with it (domestically at least) but needs attention.


    Win on Saturday, get to the break and work on it.

  6. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    While I remember…..



    Thank you to the CQNer who posted the link to the Steve Clarke interview.



    No body language expert needed.



    Guy was beelin’



    Funnily enough when I watched Ange’s interview on Tuesday ….



    (Again, courtesy of a link provided by a kindly soul on here)



    …. and heard him say warmly that Stevie has been great and the relationship is really good?



    … had a wee chuckle to myself thinking


    “the big man’s at it ! 🤭”



    Got his message out first.



    Left Clarke with the choice of



    1. Staying quiet


    2. Confirming relationship good


    3. Contradicting with a sour puss



    Reflecting the low levels of class, plus senses of entitlement and bitterness routinely demonstrated by SFA employees?



    … He chose #3

  7. Important that VAR doesn’t become a distraction for the players and mgt team.


    With this in mind, I would hope Celtic are making representation at the right level and via the appropriate channels.


    We need to level the playing field.

  8. bournesouprecipe on




    OldFirmism ?



    Looking forward to VAR ‘ because it would provide clarity and be good for Celtic ‘ I think you wrote. Embodying good ole Corinthian spirit and the ‘these things tend to even themselves out’ mantra.



    We’re about ten one down to VAR at the moment in the league, and on the doorstep of controversy every time Celtic cross the white line.



    Enough already CSC

  9. I’m worried about handball decisions at Ibrox. I’m worried about off side calls at Ibrox. I’m worried about red card offences going unpunished at Ibrox.



    Twice we’ve scored goals ruled out for off side without an adequate VAR image to back up the decision. Do we need a national security clearance to see these images ?



    VAR gives officials a double dip in influencing our games. That will never be to our benefit.



    It needs to be chucked. Talking about putting more money into it is utterly pointless when it’s the same guys looking at the cameras.

  10. VAR is proving to be a nightmare for Celtic after a couple of weeks,gives authorities a 2nd bite of the cherry to disallow goals,and give ridiculous penalties, not to mention denial of referrals from the hun doing VAR duties, a 7 point lead will disappear very quickly. We all know why VAR was rushed in,to help the huns, not fit for purpose, 6 cameras and a couple of the telescopes from Blackpool Pier,EPL grounds have 34 cameras,6 which are super slow motion. If you remember Neilsen was screaming for VAR, after Kyogo scored at CP last season, last night said nothing on a dubious handball ,our enemies are far and wide.

  11. Re the Jota VAR picture , I’ve seen better quality pictures with Buster Keaton in them , honestly you couldn’t make it up.



    Suspect Jota is good enough to keep himself onside as he knows he can outrun the Well cluggers …. Usual incompetence from Willie throughout the game randomly affecting. both sides , young Well midfielder should have walked for a ridiculous tackle on Carlos ….



    BBC crapping themselves to even discuss it … still 3 points on Saturday, rest up and come back stronger , we need to plug the back line , starting to feel a bit too porous …. still I’m sure Ange will sort it

  12. Paul 67,



    Good article.


    Stastictics can be used to suit any agenda. Eg. Celtic are undefeated since the introduction of VAR.



    HH, a great 3 points znd the journey continues

  13. A special Celtic FC evening will be held at St Augustine’s Church & Parish Centre Coatbridge, Friday evening 18th November 2022. Celebrating 135 years of the legacy of Brother Walfrid. Mass at 7pm will be led by Bishop of Paisley, John Keenan, and concelebrated with several other priests, including Parish Priest of St Augustine’s, Fr Michael Kane. Bishop Keenan will reflect on the Catholic faith, charity and mission – especially that of the club’s foremost founder, the Marist Order’s Brother Walfrid – which provided the inspiration for the formation of Celtic Football Club. After Mass, at 8pm in the Parish Centre, Celtic FC and its community of supporters will be explored in religious, historical, sociological and cultural terms. This by Dr Joseph Bradley, lecturer in the Sociology of Sport at the University of Edinburgh, Professor of Catholic Education at the University of Glasgow, Roisin Coll, and Professor of Religious & Cultural Education at Glasgow University, Bob Davis. Thereafter, music & song will be performed by Karl Byrne. Full Bar facilities available on night – cash only. Copies of Celtic Minded 5 available to buy (£15, with CM4 free to buyers of CM5), as also are copies of Dr Michael Connolly’s new biographical study (£20) of Brother Walfrid. Entrance to the Lectures and night of music is £5 at the door. A collection at Mass will be held for the Out Reach Charitable Project of St Augustine’s Parish, while a raffle will take place at the function to raise money for the Celtic FC Foundation & the Kano Foundation.



    Since this promotion was first sent out, and interest has been very significant, it is possible that the talks will be held in the Church immediately after Mass. If this occurs, the music part of the evening in the Church’s Parish Centre will become entry by ticket.



    May be an image of 1 person and text that says “88 CELTIC FOOTBALL CLUB ANNIVERSARY MASS Celebrating 135 years of the Legacy of Brother Walfrid St. Augustine’s Parish, Coatbridge 18th November 7pm Holy Mass with Bishop Keenan. Join us as we celebrate the Catholic inspiration of this club and its specific charitable mission. Talks Music Raffles After Holy Mass, the Parish Centre will host talks, music and raffles to support the work of Celtic FC Foundation and the Kano Foundation. *For Parish Centre events, suggested £5 donation. Payable on the night.”



    If anyone is in the area,well worth attending.




  14. VAR is here to stay in the spfl because it helps sevco and disadvantages us. Why would sevco want this changed?

  15. UNCLE JIMMY on 10TH NOVEMBER 2022 12:26 PM


    Important that VAR doesn’t become a distraction for the players and mgt team.





    With this in mind, I would hope Celtic are making representation at the right level and via the appropriate channels.



    Why can’t we hear the conversations, between Var Huns and the hun in black.



    Why can’t we hear the conversations the ref has with linesman?



    They do this in some situations in Rugby


    So let us hear the conversations between our Captain, the ref and the Var “people”



    Sorry being thick hear the above low cost idea


    Would make it difficult for the huns in black to cheat.



    Why would any business wish to associate with Scottish Football when it appears to be utterly corrupt



    Refs in Scotland are disgraceful and 🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮

  16. Sadly, if anyone on here thought for a nano second that VAR would level the playing field, then I suggest a visit to your local psychiatrist is in order.



    Absolute disgrace. Why the Club does not take this up with EUFA, I know not.




  17. PeterLatchfordsBelly on

    Look at individual VAR decisions if you like, but I am more interested in the pattern we are seeing. According to Alan Morrison there were 6 VAR decisions at Tynecastle, all in favour of Herts. We have seen crucial VAR decisions go against us at crucial times against DU and Motherwell, including replicas of decisions that went the other way in other games (Smith handball at Tynecastle, Livi red card upgrade at huns). The Jota decision last night stank.



    We have had one vAR decision in our favour, a penalty against Livi when it was incidental to the outcome of the game.



    No team is this unlucky in the world of probabilities. You can forget that – it’s for the birds.

  18. bournesouprecipe on

    It’s VAR and its margins they are fine.



    Every game VAR marred but Celtic unbowed and undefeated, sequential games and another narrow win. Laurel and Hardyesque with or without a major television company, Motherwell’s PPV seemed to rely on, an offside line afterthought which even left old pro Jock Brown embarrassed.



    We all remember how difficult a job that was? yet another red card offence that wasn’t seen by two, not one referee, but wrecked the flow of the game anyway. Another minor miracle that Celtic beat the Jock Stein theory “they can’t chalk them all off “ test again.



    Reality checks required for entitled supporters that get grumpy because it’s not 5-0 every time we roll up. Playing against decent full time pro’s three times a week in Scotland does have its Celtic pitfalls, including it seems the new one.



    Great jobs on the Fir Park bowling green by O’Riley, Mooy and Hatate. CCV and Starfelt resumed their tight league winning partnership, Kyogo got his goal, and GG should have got his. Rotated Juranovic played well, especially breaking forward out of defence.



    Teething is temporary everything will be alright once VAR gives Celtic a decision, Won’t it?



    It’s enough to make you go and support Celtic they’re going to need it.

  19. Another VAR trick to benefit Them which I’m sure we’ll see more of can be seen with their fourth goal the other day against Aberdeen. The initial pass out wide before the cross to Morelos looks offside, and the Aberden players claim for it, but this wasn’t the one scrutinised by the VAR team.



    Exactly the same as in the semi-final last year!


    Expect to see a lot more of this.


    They are totally corrupt and taking the piss!

  20. Jota’s “goal” was a thing of pure natural beauty, a rare moment of sublime quality that we rarely see in the Scottish game. But VAR sucked all the joy out of the moment.



    It’s never not going to be a joy vacuum, and it’s never going to please anybody – you can guarantee as much as we’re complaining about it, the other clubs will be doing the same.

  21. Paul 67,



    So we have base level,


    The EPL has Sport and performance level.


    The CL has Luxury, priemier level.



    However as you rightly say, better trained drivers will get optimum results regardless of trim.




  22. I think the problem is that, like the handball rule, the rule makers have spent a fortune on something with our money then have failed completely to communicate anything about it.



    Why not spend a bit of cash explaining the key aims, and the processes. It just makes you think it’s either amateur, they’re scared of being held to account, or they have something to hide

  23. VAR is destroying the game.



    I don’t understand why it was introduced, or what it is supposed to achieve.



    But it is destroying the game.

  24. VAR is currently not fit for purpose due to the technical equipment it is using to verify the incidents it is requested to check , all we have got is the real ref in the studio calling the shots with no repercussions to suit the agenda , it should be scrapped until the proper and necessary investment is made to bring it up to the required spec ,until then we will have to expect more of the same.

  25. We were very poor last night.Creating all sorts of problems for ourselves.Anyone trying to sugar coat the shocking passing on display,kidding themselves on.One such pass,a basic cross field pass to Carl,so overhit,he got caught with red card tackle,chasing it down.Hatate,Juranovic,who tends to fire passesTaylorI. don’t expect us to be at our best everygame,but he most basic part of the game is simple.Carelessness,makes it difficult.Nothing else.


    Maeda.That’s what I have been waiting to see.Magnificent run,touch,finish.Take a bow

  26. Handball rule is a VARiable feast. If a ball hits or simply passes by close to a hooped shirt, it’s a penalty no matter the area of the field. Oh and a red card to Neil Lennon.

  27. Had a discussion with a senior Celt.



    What are we to do?



    Celtic petition and pressurise privately,that’s the way we tend to our business.



    I advised that is fine in a non digital era,you introduce var,you enter a different era where we have film evidence to rationalize and còntrast with the actual decisions we have to accept forrestpen,bernabei,Jota,starfelt in contrast to what is seen!



    In short private petitioning is °(not to good)dated.


    The tech is outing this as a form of dissent.



    Better to have a laugh a Var.until Celtic act.


    Cos right now it’s laughing at us.



    Celtic step up.its the digital age.


    Shed the muted and stinted nonsense.


    And step into 21st century


    Those incidents are going to build into a Tsunami of evidence that will overshadow the inhibited approach taken by Celtic,




  28. If Bernebeis WAS a penalty,Davies at Ibrox was also.Not a mention of this key incident on Sportscene,but 5 minutes discuss the Motherwell shy.


    Oh,and not a complaint from Neilson.

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