Livingston boss discusses reason for VAR anomaly as Celtic Park gets set for Scottish Cup showing

By Lewis Laird

February 9, 2023

David Martindale has been discussing why Livingston chose not to use VAR in the Scottish Cup, after confirmation that Celtic Park was just one of two grounds using the technology this weekend.

The Bhoys are one of eight Scottish Premiership clubs who are in the last 16 of the cup competition, which returns to action across Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

There are some tasty ties in this round, which include two all-Premiership clubs as Ange Postecoglou’s side take on St Mirren and Dundee United facing Kilmarnock.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

The other top-flight teams who are in action include Hearts, Motherwell, Livingston and Rangers, with the two latter teams playing their cup ties at home.

Of course, there has been a slight change in this season’s Scottish Cup, given that VAR was introduced in 2022. So Premiership clubs now have the technology in place to be utilised.

As Celtic supporters might remember, we saw this on display in the last round of the cup, with the Hoops being rewarded a penalty for the opening goal against Greenock Morton.

And it will be the same this weekend at Celtic Park, with VAR being utilised during the tie on Saturday evening against St Mirren.

However, as we reported yesterday, the Bhoys fixture against the Buddies will be only one of two cup ties that VAR is going to be in place for.

Although four out of the eight Scottish Cup matches will be played at Scottish Premiership grounds, it has been confirmed that Celtic Park and Ibrox will be the only ones using the technology.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Livingston and their opponents Inverness will be joined by Dundee United and Kilmarnock after taking the decision put VAR in place for Saturday’s game.

These clubs were able to make the decision after the SFA confirmed that the use of the new technology was only mandatory for live television games.

Speaking ahead of his side’s cup tie against the Scottish Championship side, Livingston boss David Martindale discussed the financial reasoning behind the club’s decision.

He said [PLZ Soccer]: “I think if it’s going to cost you, we are close to six figures to implement VAR this year.

“They six figures, where does it come from? It comes out of my budget, there is no other revenue stream that can come out. So it comes out of my budget.

“That’s going to make me less competitive going into the season. So I don’t see the point in spending more money to make me even less competitive for a game of football.

“Let’s be honest, how many years has football been going on? Hundreds of years we’ve got away without VAR, so I’m sure for the Scottish Cup game on Saturday, we’ll be okay.”

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Scottish Premiership club’s decision not to use VAR says a lot about success of technology so far.

Although the financial aspects of VAR are understandable, it says a lot about the success of VAR that these clubs have chosen not to use it this weekend.

When the technology was introduced to Scottish Football, teething problems were expected. However, there doesn’t seem to have been much improvement over the last few months.

We continue to see decisions questioned and even red card calls rescinded, which shouldn’t really be the case when utilising VAR.

VAR has the potential to be game-deciding if, for example, an offside call is wrong. So, it is interesting to see that clubs are choosing now to use the new technology introduced earlier in the season.

You can imagine the SFA will be hoping that there are no controversial calls in any of the games this weekend, which could potentially raise more questions.

In other news, Fresh European Super League plans could see Celtic amongst targeted clubs.