Ange Postecoglou's main issue with Celtic Park refereeing amidst Hibs meltdown

By John McGinley

March 19, 2023

Ange Postecoglou wouldn’t get drawn into discussing specific refereeing decisions during Celtic’s 3-1 win over Hibernian but did admit the amount of time added on in both halves frustrated him.

As much as 15 minutes were added on across both periods due to a variety of stoppages for injury and VAR checks, an almost unprecedented amount of additional playing time in the Scottish Premiership. For Ange, it’s a sign that these checks continue to take far too long.

Following a red card and a penalty for each side, Hibernian had a bit of a meltdown at Celtic Park. Lee Johnson received a yellow card in the dugout, complained to officials for the entire 90 minutes then blasted referee Steven McLean after the match. There have also been reports chief executive Ben Kensell got involved in a ‘heated exchange’ after the final whistle, demanding answers from those in charge. [Edinburgh Evening News]

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Postecoglou gave a far cooler assessment of proceedings but still had a gripe, stating [Daily Record]: “I’m well aware of Lee’s feelings, I heard them for 95-100 minutes, mate, I can well imagine. They were decisions, mate, all of them, like every decision.

“For me, it’s more about the disruption it gives to the game. We had 15 minutes of extra-time purely on the back of officials’ disruption. That doesn’t really excite me that much but decisions are decisions, mate, and we have just got to cop them whether they are good or bad. It just felt like a bit of a chaotic game . There was a lot going on on and off the field.

“Especially first half we just couldn’t get any sort of rhythm or fluency and impose ourselves on the game like we wanted to. Having said that we created some great chances. But I thought second half we handled it a lot better, we stayed calm, kept our composure, made an impact when we needed to and guys coming on helped us get the result.”

For supporters, it’s especially frustrating for disruption to the game to drag on – with little communication on what’s actually happening behind the scenes. There’s a courtesy notice on the big screens but that just informs us that a check is taking place.

This isn’t a good thing for spectators and Postecoglou clearly feels it’s not a good thing for his team either. He’d much prefer the ball be in play for as long as possible.

Ultimately it’s something you have to hope gets better over time, either because the officials become more adept at using technology or the technology itself improves further.

In other news, Steven Gerrard to face Celtic side at Anfield.