Celtic write to SFA about John Beaton and VAR controversy

Rangers FC v Celtic FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership
Rangers FC v Celtic FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership / Stu Forster/GettyImages

It was inevitable that there would be question marks over VAR from the Glasgow Derby. After Brendan Rodgers' ban for questioning the quality of the officiating after losing to Hearts, the SFA did themselves no favours by naming John Beaton as the referee for Sunday’s game at Ibrox.  So when controversial decisions were made, with the help of VAR, it was not something unforeseen.

It is vital that the club, and others, maintain the pressure on the SFA to ensure VAR is used correctly and appropriately. It is currently having a significant impact on games which it should not be. Seemingly correct decisions are being overturned into wrong ones.

With that in mind, there are significant questions the club should be raising with the authorities after the derby. They relate to the VAR process, not the actual decisions. Those can't be changed now, but the way it works can and probably needs to be reviewed.

This is about the penalty incident between Alistair Johnston and Fabio Silva. After a VAR check and monitor review by Beaton, he overturned his original decision to book the Rangers player for a dive. There are lots of views on whether it's a penalty or not. Let's stand back from that and again consider the process.

Celtic write to SFA about John Beaton and VAR controversy

It appears from the TV coverage that Beaton may only have seen a short clip on the monitor. It seemed to focus on the moment of contact between the two players. It didn’t appear to include a second or two earlier where Johnston played the ball out of Silva's reach.

As reported by the Daily Record, Celtic have written to the SFA for clarification over the Rangers' penalty. The club chiefs have concerns over the VAR footage sent to Beaton and believe the clip ghe referee was shown on the sidelines did not include the moment Johnston touched the ball before Silva collided with his outstretched leg.

Also, a yellow card was issued in the first half to Johnston after he and Silva ran into each other. Beaton stopped the game as the Rangers player was writhing around on the pitch. But he didn't give a foul nor issue any cards. After a VAR check for a potential red card, the Celtic player was booked.

VAR cannot intervene if a referee misses a yellow card incident. It can only intervene if a yellow card should be a red card. An SFA Q&A on VAR makes that very clear. Celtic should ask - Did the VAR process go too far and indicate to Beaton that a yellow card outcome should apply?

The questions aren't about the decisions that were made and whether they were correct. But about the process used to reach those decisions. It's astonishing that there is still a need for such basic questions about how VAR is supposed to be used. But unless it's clearly applied correctly, these will keep coming up.