Michael Stewart unimpressed with VAR impact in Celtic clash

By John Reid

February 21, 2020

Celtic’s Europa League game against Copenhagen on Thursday night was the first chance that the Hoops would face VAR in a competitive fixture, and one man who wasn’t impressed with the way it used was BBC pundit Michael Stewart, who was very critical of a decision on his Twitter account.

VAR had big impact on game

It had been noticeable how little impact VAR had in the game, until the second-half, when Copenhagen claimed for a penalty for what was allegedly handball in the box by Ryan Christie.

Referee Sergei Karasev checks the VAR monitor (Photo by LISELOTTE SABROE/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

The referee consulted his pitch side monitor, and awarded the spot kick. Thankfully for the Hoops, Fraser Forster saved the penalty, and the game ended 1-1.

The decision to award the penalty didn’t impress Stewart though. He was scathing on social media following the incident.

“Never be punished”

Sorry but just another example of the complete shambles the handball rule is now. That should never be punished!” he said.

Interestingly, one man who didn’t seem to have a problem with the decision is Hoops manager Neil Lennon. After the game he said, as quoted by the official Celtic Twitter account, that “the referee couldn’t really make any other decision” but to award the penalty.

Both men have a point, although it is quite intriguing that Neil Lennon had no complaints about the decision that was made.

Fraser Forster saves a penalty (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

However, the debates over VAR will no doubt run and run as long as it is used in the game. The Hoops will get their second look at the system in the return leg of the last 32 tie on Thursday. Would anyone be surprised if VAR once more had an impact on the game?

Who is correct about the decision? Does Michael Stewart have a point, or is Neil Lennon on the money with his thoughts? Share your thoughts below with a comment in our new discussion forum…