VAR’s crucial role in tight league and cup race


The Premier League in England will today vote on a Wolves proposal to ditch Video Assisted Referees.  Wolves endured several poor VAR decisions in the season just ended which has raised their dander.  Celtic suffered from terrible VAR decisions, especially when it was new in 2022.  Those early experiences anchored some of our thinking.

Without VAR, Newco would have taken the lead against Celtic at Ibrox in September, when the referee missed foul on Lagerbielke.  Without VAR, on our next visit to Ibrox in April, Newco would have scored twice in 10 minutes to level the game, when the referee overlooked a foul on Iwata.  Without VAR, Newco would have taken a 74th minute lead in the Scottish Cup Final, when the referee missed a foul on Joe Hart.

You can rightly contest the VAR decision against Iwata at Tynecastle, but in a tight league race and a tight cup final, VAR played a crucial role on reaching the correct outcome.

There can be no going back to instant and unaccountable decisions.  VAR must be maintained, with improved technology deployed as soon as possible.

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  1. Weebobbycollins on

    I agree, can’t go back on VAR now. It’s here to stay, though still needs improvement.

  2. Tobago Street on

    Gene, I’m also using duck duck go. I’m on an iPad and not an advert in ‘site’!




  3. Tobago


    Sorted it – for some reason the protection had been disabled – so switched it back on

  4. Paul 67


    We won the league and cup double in spite of not because of Var


    I’m sure oor wullie will sort out the Lanarkshire refs for next season – he is of course the best man for the job amongst international candidates.

  5. The Blogger Formerly Known As GM on

    Improved technology with neutral personnel operating it.



    Fixed it for you👍



    If my understanding is correct, Celtic would contribute the most to any technology upgrade therefore the two must go hand in hand.

  6. GlassTwoThirdsFull on

    Good, balanced analysis, Paul – although the more pertinent point would be why the league became a close race in the first place.


    Agree that for good or bad VAR is here to stay. Would like to see it changed to tennis-style challenges.

  7. lets all do the huddle on

    take officiating and var out of the hawns of huns.



    the end.



    new article please!

  8. glendalystonsils on

    Better VAR technology is a must but we still have the human element to worry about . I’ve no idea if Collum will be an improvement on his predecessor , but the fact Shug Dallas endorses him gives me the fear .

  9. Tom McLaughlin on

    I still say football should use a master digital clock, like they do in Rugby Union.



    It would appear on the electronic scoreboard(s) and TV screen and is controlled by a VAR official who, on instructions from the referee, stops and starts the clock until a loud hoot (or similar) sounds in the stadium when the clock reaches 00:00.



    When play is stopped for injury, var checks or any other reason, the referee instructs var to stop the clock. Even single substitutions resulting in a 30 second stoppage soon add up to minutes.



    As the clock ticks down, everyone knows how long to play and there would be no more reliance on arbitrary estimates by referees.



    Sounds like a big change but we’d soon get used to it.



    Worth a try?

  10. !!Bada Bing!! on

    It’s not so much VAR in this country, it’s the huns who sit in judgement. Easy solution, VAR officials do games out with their own countries, they sit in TV studios, let Italian VAR guys do EPL games etc etc

  11. TOM MCLAUGHLIN re: clock



    Agreed. That and on screen reviews and the audio like we get in the posh ball game.

  12. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Tom McL @ 12:47.



    Worth a try?



    In my book, yes.



    From memory of analysis done we get low fifty minutes of action on average per game in SPFL.



    60 minutes would be my preference.

  13. bournesouprecipe on




    Ah the old “ they can’t chalk them all off “ everything even VAR, is fair routine



    VAR was abused over the long winter period when new manager Clement was given cart blanche, with every Goldson handball, every dodgy TavPen , it launched an unlikely challenge by them till they ran out of luck, on the law of dodgy decision averages.



    The first lesson of VAR was “ it’s here to stay “ and the reason it’s here to stay is because football clubs and thereby the supporters are paying for it, FIFA UEFA all the way down to Kings Park, make money from VAR.



    Bawhair offside is bad, offside five moves before the ball hits the net is a disaster, silhouette handball and ordinary handball changes depending on what team you support.



    VAR It’s a nice little earner, a failed experiment in the land of the honest mistake, definitely S.F.A to do with Celtic winning another double.

  14. tom mclaughlin



    That is not how the clock works in Rugby Union.


    It only stops for injuries and for video reviews.


    And also when it reaches 00.00 the game does not stop if the ball is still in play, no, the play and the game continues. Best example being Ireland versus New Zealand in Dublin over ten years ago when the All Blacks regained possession just under the 80 minute mark, down, 22-17 and over two minutes later scored what I consider to be the greatest try ever scored in Rugby. After which the clock was stopped again for a video review, try awarded, clock started again for the conversion, which was missed, but ordered to be retaken due to Irish players charging before the taker moved, clock still ticking, converted and the All Blacks winning 24-22. Ball in play over three minutes after “full-time”.


    Different rules apply in Scotland, clock keeps ticking till Rangers* get the winner.

  15. glendalystonsils on

    The VAR decisions that went for us in the 3-3 at Ibrox and the SC final did not so much favour us , rather they ensured that the rules (as they stand) were properly applied .


    That might not have been the case though , if we hadn’t hit the missile launch button after the Tynecastle game .

  16. AN TEARMANN on 6TH JUNE 2024 12:02 PM


    Emerald Bee


    Did you get round your walk in Pitlochry iirc?





    Hi AT, yeah Mrs Emeraldbee and I got a couple of days amazing weather at the time and got in some great walking and even climbed Ben Vrackie where we met an Ayrshire sticky trying to get two Belfast visitors to join in his ‘discussion’ of glorious things to do in Belfast in July. Fairplay to the guys from Norn Iron, weren’t interested.



    Made me chuckle anyway.



    Ave Ave

  17. That’s as good a defense of VAR I have seen anywhere.



    However, it has changed refereeing. Refs know they don’t need to react to everything because they have VAR, so they don’t make decisions and let things run on. We can guess, but who knows how a ref would decide if VAR was not there? Also, the rules of the game regarding handball and offside have been changed and interpreted to assist the inadequacies of VAR rather than to make the game better.



    That said, I would not have trusted our refs to reach the right decision in the examples you quoted.

  18. Paul67 et al



    Well as one of the cheerleaders for VAR yvenou would say that wouldn’t you?


    No no no, you cannot just cherry pick a few examples which led to the correct decisions, the correct decisions, and claim it helped Celtic win the double. It must be judged over the full season, a season during which i would argue was clouded by re-refereeing, Tynecastle being the most infamous example, multiple games in which decisions were given, or not given, (to suit) games which ended up with favourable results for our main rivals. And even in full view in the Scottish Cup final two clear penalty decisions not examined or given when they would have favoured Celtic. Bourne has referenced the offside decisions, measured in mm after the fact, not to mention againTynecastle style handballs. Not so much clear and obvious errors, more a clear and present danger to our league title hopes the season just past. In the spirit of today’s commemorations I hope against hope that today is the day when….


    Die Var is Over

  19. bigrailroadblues on

    Good afternoon all from the Long Hall, Great George’s Street. An old favourite.

  20. Back to Basics - Glass Half Full on

    Re VAR, I suspect it is only a matter of time before the tennis style challenge system comes in for anything other than offside decisions or penalty awards.

  21. I hope in this window we are left to the ” Loan to buy” approach.Working a treat for us.Also,players available out of contract.They would still need signing on fees,but nowhere near transfer fees.The money saved could go towards a couple of big buys.


    Somebody saying about Mc Kenna not being good enough for Forest.Not the case,he was excellent for them.He had a massive falling out with them.Never played again.Been out on loan.Himself and CCV would make a hefty looking central defence.Came on a ton at Forest.

  22. One of their rags saying reports that Gerrard has offered 8 million for Tav and Goldson.

  23. I think VAR is an an abomination. I don’t trust the competence of the people administering it so I can quite easily see the reverse happening at crucial points next season. I think we got lucky, I think our luck may run out.



    I never really understood the appeal of it. Did supporters think that their team would suddenly start doing better? All those offsides that cost them goals would be given, while all the ones that were missed wouldn’t? It’s bizarre exceptionalism to think that VAR will help your team at the expense of others. And the effect it would have on the game as a spectacle was clear and obvious to anyone capable of joined up thinking. The clubs have no interest in the beautiful game – winning is everything, burg the fans and above all the administrators should be a bit stronger. Football is a simple game, over complicating it with something that adds nothing to it it pretty moronic imo



    I exempt Celtic from this to a degree, the increased scrutiny should improve the fairness of refereeing in Scotland and it appears to be finally doing that, but it’s taken too long to get there sad there’s no guarantee we won’t revert back to how it was.

  24. The returnof weeron on



    I agree that VAR can be a good thing.



    What is missing is enforced consistency. Refs should be required to explain why THIS is a penalty and THAT is not. There are cases where very similar incidents have very different outcomes. If Willie Collum comes out and explains that THIS is a penalty because….



    Than he should show the one that the huns (or anyone else) got away with. Yes, potentially embarrassing for said referee, but probably well deserved.



    This, I think, will narrow the definition of penalties and red card events.



    Just my 2 million dollars worth…




  25. Tom McLaughlin on




    You have completely missed the point of my comment.



    The point of my post was not to describe how the clock works in Rugby. I was using rugby as an example of how a clock would work in football.



    I am well aware that the clock only stops in rugby for injuries and reviews. So what? Rugby doesn’t own the cooyright for all clocks. If football adopted the principal they could set the rules of use as they see fit.



    Yes, in rugby the clock continues past 80 minutes until the ball is out of play. Again, so what? Footbal could do the same if they see fit.

  26. tom mclaughlin



    It’s not so much that I missed the point in your suggestion re clock watching…


    More that I didn’t see any point in it all…

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