Giovanni van Bronckhorst responds to criticism of Bobby Madden in Celtic v Rangers and welcomes introduction of VAR

Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes intense scrutiny and analysis of referees is part of ‘the beauty of football’ and shouldn’t be discouraged.

Referee Bobby Madden attracted criticism for his performance in last Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Referee Bobby Madden attracted criticism for his performance in last Sunday's Scottish Cup semi-final between Rangers and Celtic at Hampden. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

But the Rangers manager, who says he and his coaching colleagues are equally fair game for discourse over their decisions from punters and pundits alike, would like to see a more civil approach adopted in Scottish football.

Much of the aftermath of Rangers’ Scottish Cup semi-final win over Celtic at Hampden last Sunday centered on often hysterical criticism of referee Bobby Madden, despite even van Bronckhorst’s Old Firm counterpart Ange Postecoglou stating he saw ‘nothing untoward’ in the match official’s display.

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Van Bronckhorst, who possesses similar equanimity in adversity as Postecoglou, hopes the introduction of VAR in the Scottish Premiership later this year will help to soothe the level of emotion provoked in others by refereeing decisions.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has welcomed the decision to implement VAR in the Scottish Premiership later this year. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“It’s a big game, there are many big decisions to be made in the game, that will always be a talking point,” he said.

“Not only here, but you can see it in the big leagues. That’s why VAR is important because it takes away some of the decisions that are made to help the referees.

“It also shows how important the game is, especially when you play in Europe or in big games against Celtic in the league or in the cup competitions.

“There always has to be respect for everyone involved in the game, the players, the referees.

Football is emotional, people like to talk about the game. But I think you have to have respect for one another and the decisions that are made.

“That’s the most important thing when you talk about it in papers or in pubs or whatever. Talking about it is a huge part of football. It’s good because everyone can be a manager, everyone can be a referee.

“Talking about different situations, squad selections or talking points in the game. That’s the beauty of football and we don’t have to take that away because it’s a part. But we have to show respect when we talk about those issues.

“I am a big fan of VAR because it will help the referees in their decisions and I am really happy that it is coming to the league after the World Cup. After that, it is much easier for the referees to take the right decisions in difficult moments.”

Van Bronckhorst, meanwhile, has hailed the decision to bring Rangers’ league game at Motherwell forward 24 hours to lunchtime on Saturday ahead of their Europa League semi-final, first leg clash against RB Leipzig in Germany next Thursday.

“It is helping us a lot,” he said. “It is one day extra so we have one day extra to prepare for Leipzig and also one day extra rest. I am really happy with everyone involved in getting the game moved to Saturday. It is a big game for us, a big game for Scotland as well. So I’m very grateful for all the decisions which were made.

“But I think it’s for every club the same - if any club in Scotland will be involved in Europe, I think we all have to do the same and make sure all the teams get the best preparation for big games in Europe.”

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