Former EPL referee delivers verdict on controversial Celtic penalty call

By Lewis Laird

November 14, 2022

Former English Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher has delivered his verdict on Ross County’s penalty call against Celtic on Saturday.

With the game still level at 0-0 in the second half, both sides were continuing to probe for the opening goal at Celtic Park.

And the best opportunity of the match came the way of Ross County from the penalty spot after referee David Munro judged that Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley had handled the ball inside the area.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

After a short VAR check, the officials involved on the afternoon decided that the penalty decision should stick, as David Cancola stepped up and slotted the ball home from 12-yards.

Ultimately, the spot kick didn’t mean anything in the end, as Ange Postecoglou’s side hit a quickfire double to secure all three points in a 2-1 win

As ever in Scottish Football, refereeing decisions were the talk of the weekend as pundits and experts discussed the decision to award the away side the penalty.

BBC Scotland pundit and former Hearts midfielder Michael Stewart was one of the people criticising the call, as he labelled it an ‘absolute disgrace’, as VAR issues continue in this country.

Earlier today, former English Premier League and top-level referee Dermot Gallagher was asked to weigh in with his opinion.

Speaking on this week’s edition of ‘Ref Watch’ on Sky Sports, Gallagher insisted that O’Riley was ‘really, really unlucky’ to see a spot-kick awarded against him for handball.

He said [Sky Sport]: “I think he’s really unlucky. What can he do? It flicks up and hits his elbow, no doubt, but it was given, and that’s it. You have to accept it. It’s not going to be utopia straight away, but it will be moving forward.”

Celtic on the opposite end of more VAR misfortune, with SFA improvements needed upon domestic return.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Ange Postecoglou’s side or any team in the Scottish Premiership, for that matter, have been on the end of VAR misfortune.

In the opening five games, the technology has been utilised for there have already been a whole host of issues. From handballs to offside calls.

Ultimately, it isn’t good enough. Clubs are paying the money for this system, and yet clubs are officials are continuing to make consistent mistakes.

The World Cup break should prove to be an important period of time for those at the SFA as they look to seek answers for the mistakes we have seen so far.

Clarification is needed upon these decisions, and we must see an improvement in the use of VAR when domestic action returns next month.

In other news, Celtic man reveals brilliant dressing room response to rivals struggles.