The reality of VAR at Celtic Park

By Hamish Carton

October 8, 2021

Celtic are among clubs meeting with the SPFL and SFA today about the addition of VAR (video assistant referee) to Scottish football.

Former top-level referee Howard Webb is leading the discussion, with Premiership clubs having the opportunity to debate a full introduction of the technology.

Photo by RUSSELL CHEYNE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

A recent SFA statement explained that the plan is for VAR to be in use for “all men’s top-tier matches” as well as “latter rounds of cup competitions.”

The addition of VAR to Scottish football would be one of the biggest changes our game has seen in decades – but it needn’t be quite as dramatic as some think.

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VAR was barely noticeable at Celtic Park last week

Such is the growing prevalence of VAR in UEFA competition, Celtic have already played two games with the technology this season.

Our trip to Real Betis saw VAR intervene and allow a chalked-off Albian Ajeti goal, while it was also in use for our 4-0 home loss to Bayer Leverkusen eight days ago.

Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

But the reality is that VAR doesn’t have to be nearly as intrusive as some make out.

UEFA’s version of the system was used only a handful of times during those two games combined – and rarely was it a major talking point.

The English Premier League’s initial implementation of VAR at the start of the 2019/2020 season went far from smoothly.

But VAR has been improved since then. It is far more widely used and accepted.

Scotland has to move with the times on this one, and get VAR as part of our game.

If not, we risk being left behind by the rest of Europe.

In other news, Neil Lennon has shed some light on Hatem Elhamed’s surprise departure from the club in February