'Bit chaotic, erratic': Livingston lament VAR in Rangers defeat as David Martindale reveals dugout feed issues

Manager Martindale believes stop-start nature of match did not help his team in opening period

Livingston manager David Martindale lamented his team’s first-half display in the 2-0 defeat by Rangers and admitted VAR played a part in his emotions.

Referee Steven McLean was called to the VAR monitor on two occasions to check an offside to chalk off a goal and a penalty decision midway through the second half, while the official back at Clydesdale House checked over two other incidents – another disallowed goal and Rangers’ first penalty award, which was missed by James Tavenier. It led to a disjointed match with 15 minutes of stoppage time across the two halves and the Livi boss believes it affected proceedings.

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“It was a disappointing first half, I think VAR played a big part in it,” said Martindale. “It honestly a felt a bit stop start, a bit chaotic, a bit erratic at times. But I don’t think we were great in the first half, as good as Rangers were. A couple of decisions with VAR, the first penalty with wee [Ross] McCausland, I don’t think it’s a penalty.

Rangers manager Philippe Clement and Ross McCausland applaud the fans at full time.Rangers manager Philippe Clement and Ross McCausland applaud the fans at full time.
Rangers manager Philippe Clement and Ross McCausland applaud the fans at full time.

“I know these decisions are subjective, but when you are using technology to get to these decisions I’m a bit disappointed that penalty was given. What I will say is that the second one was a stonewall penalty. But we managed to get ourselves in at half time one nil down.

“And against the Old Firm, at nil nil or one nil you’ve got to try and stay in the game and that gives you an opportunity within the game. That was the story of the first half. We but lucky to go in at 1-0, but we’re in the game at that point. We had a chat with the players and I felt we started the second half a bit more aggressive, with a bit more intensity and we got a couple of entries into the Rangers box.

“There wasn’t a lot in the game up until the second goal. Then the second goal goes in – it’s a penalty – it makes the game really difficult for us. The game becomes easier for Rangers and at that point the players go into a bit of safety mode and we drop 15, 20 yards and give Rangers easy possession.”

Martindale revealed that his frustrations were exacerbated by issues with the match feed coming into to the Livingston technical area: “We had a problem with the feed coming into the dugout so it felt even worse for us,” he explained. “If we were watching it back we’d have half an idea of what VAR should be doing But we were looking at a blank screen. We thought it was a disallowed goal but you don’t know. The penalty we managed to see it at half-time – I didn’t think it was a pen – but it was just a bit chaotic in that first half and VAR didn’t help our emotions. That’s maybe more to do with nothing having the feed rather than waiting three or four minutes for the decision.”