Celtic could get used to using the video assistant referee
Celtic came into contact with one of the wonders of modern football on Tuesday night. The Hoops’ 0-0 draw against Swiss top-flight side St. Gallen may be best remembered for the use of the video assistant referee – the first time the system has been used in a Celtic match.
The Swiss FA were experimenting with the technology ahead of its use in the Super League this coming season. It came into use on two occasions during the drab draw, assisting and then damaging Neil Lennon’s men.
In the first-half it awarded us a penalty following a handball from a Swiss player. The referee had initially awarded a free-kick following Anthony Ralston’s speculative effort before he was told in his ear to point to the spot. Unfortunately, Odsonne Edouard couldn’t take advantage as his effort was saved by Dejan Stojanovic.
VAR came to the forefront again in the second-half following an daft challenge from Jozo Simunovic. The big Croat was given his marching orders after his high foot caught a St. Gallen player on the head. The referee dismissed the 24-year-old after viewing the incident on the monitor at the side of the pitch.
Celtic could meet VAR again very soon
So a mixed bag for the technology on it’s opening appearance with Celtic. One thing’s for sure though – it won’t be the last time we come into contact with the system.
In fact, Celtic Park could be seeing VAR installed in as little as six weeks. The technology will be used in the playoff round of Champions League qualification this season, meaning Celtic are just three victories away from seeing it again.
It won’t be in use for next week’s tie against FK Sarajevo though. Time will tell whether that’s a good or a bad thing.