Celtic VAR decision prompts debate from Ross County manager Malky Mackay

Ross County manager Malky Mackay has appealed for patience with Scottish football officialdom over the introduction of VAR, even as he acknowledges that the rules over handball require to be addressed.

Mackay pointed out the problem is worldwide on hands making contact with the ball in the area, and was witnessed again in his team’s 2-1 defeat away to Celtic as an inadvertent flick from Callum Johnston struck the arm of Matt O’Riley when it didn’t seem in an unnatural position, only for referee David Munro to point to the spot and VAR to back his judgement.

"I have only seen it in real time,” Mackay said. “Ange [Postecolgou] was remonstrating and I actually said at the time: 'I'm not sure this is going to be a penalty anyway'. So I wasn't getting too excited about it until he actually hit the spot, and even then I was saying 'make sure you get people behind the ball'. Listen, there are are going to be subjective ones but it's clear in England after a number of years, it's gone up from 83 to 98 per cent in terms of the accuracy of decisions. And the big ones will always be better for us now.

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“There are always going to be subjective ones, we have had a couple against us already. You swallow it and get on with it. But I was in at the VAR centre two weeks ago and, having seen what it is that they are actually going though, it is going to take a bit of time and it is going to be better for Scottish football. Today's one went for us, last week's went against us.

Malky Mackay's Ross County team took the lead against Celtic via a controversial penalty.
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“I think [the subjective handball calls] you see everywhere, you saw it with Celtic and Real Madrid the other week. You are talking about the rule-makers at the very, very top level. We are all going the other week 'Matt O'Riley's one was never a handball'. That handball one is the one that is causing the most issues. That's the one that seems to be very, very subjective at the moment. Someone that's not looking at the ball and it hits their elbow from five yards at 40-50 miles per hour, I'm not really sure what you are supposed to do there because the hands-behind-the-back defending is beyond me, and it's kind of where we are going.

“If you actually tried to run down the line with somebody that's going at the pace of [Daizen] Maeda, and block that ball with your feet and your hands are behind your back, you are breaking your nose on the turf, because the stud catches. You need your arms like you need your legs when you are jumping. But nobody is gtrying to get it wrong and [SFA head of referees] Crawford Allan and his team have got this into Scottish football so we are not the poor relations. We have to be at the same table as everyone else at the top of Europe. Then once we are there we have the ability to help change.”