Celtic will not be derailed by VAR but handball grey area needs fixed, insists Anthony Ralston

Anthony Ralston insists VAR delays and contentious handball decisions are not going to derail Celtic in their bid to reclaim the Scottish Premiership title this season.

Celtic overcame the loss of another penalty to accidental handball – their third in four days following the two conceded to Real Madrid – and recovered from an 85th minute Dundee United equaliser to claim a dramatic 4-2 win that moved them seven points clear at the top of the table.

Various VAR stoppages interrupted the flow of the game, and infuriated Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou, who criticised the officials for the time taken over video reviews, but Ralston insists the players just see it as another challenge to overcome.

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“Look, this is the game we are in now. It has been implemented and we need to deal with it," he said.

Celtic's Anthony Ralston (left) and Kyogo Furuhashi celebrate after the 4-2 win over Dundee United. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

"We focus on ourselves. We don’t try and let the outside noise affect us. The referees are going to make their decisions and that will be that. We just need to deal with it and, again, the boys done that.

“It was hard. Stop start. Especially the way we want to play. It’s quick and it’s intense. But this is what we are going to have to deal with.

“You need to stay focused at all times no matter what happens. Whether it is VAR or it's a bad a decision, or whether it is the opposition slowing the game down. These are all factors in the game that we need control mentally ourselves which we all do and we are used to now.”

On the decision to penalise Alexandro Bernabei for an unintentional handball, the Celtic right-back added: “I’ve not seen it, so I’m not going to comment. Again, I’m not a referee. These are the decisions they need to make at the time. It can be difficult, but, again, there is a very grey area there that does need to get fixed, but again, we won’t let the outside noise affect us.”

Having established a 2-1 lead thanks to a Sead Haksabanovic double – his first goals for the club coming either side of Steven Fletcher converting that controversial penalty – Celtic were stunned to concede an 85th minute leveller after Dylan Levitt's cross found its way into the net.

The response from the home side was emphatic as substitute Kyogo Furuhashi latched onto Ralston's flick-on from a Matt O'Riley corner to nod home in the 90th minute, sparking bedlam in a packed Celtic Park, before Liel Abada added a fourth in injury-time.

“We don’t really see a game as over until it is finished," Ralston added. "We were aware when the goal went in what we had to do. We’ve been there before and credit to the boys for keeping the right mindset and keeping going until the end.

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“I flicked it on at the front post. It is something that we work on in training and analysing. It is important I get across the front post just in case the corner is underhit and I’m there.

“I’m there and it is effective because it is hard to defend that second ball when it gets flicked on with the pace that is on it and Kyogo has done well to get a touch on it.

“But then we go on and get another one as well and that shows the mentality that, okay, we got potenatilly a last-minute winner, but we want to keep on going and get as many as we can.”



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