Hibs defender Darren McGregor has urged Scottish football authorities to install goal-line technology after Oli Shaw’s ‘ghost goal’ in Wednesday night’s Edinburgh derby against Hearts.
But the Scottish Professional Football League is set to resist such calls despite the cost of installing such technology falling since the subject last featured on the news agenda.
An SPFL spokesman has claimed the cost per stadium remains unaffordable for top-flight clubs in Scotland at present.
“Goal-line technology has been a proven aid to referee decision-making where it has been installed around the world and is a very good example of technology enhancing the game,” said the spokesman.
“In common with most other leagues outside the most wealthy in Europe, however, goal-line technology remains unaffordable for the SPFL. It would cost millions of pounds to install this technology at all Ladbrokes Premiership grounds.”
The cost per stadium is coming down from the previously oft-quoted figure of £250,000 to an unspecified six-figure sum. If the price keeps falling goal-line technology will eventually come into play for the SPFL. But this is unlikely to happen for several years.
While there is a SPFL general meeting scheduled next month there are no plans at present to discuss proposals to install the new technology. McGregor said Wednesday’s incident “begged the question” why such technology is not now used.
Television replays proved the ball was well over the line after Hibs striker Shaw’s sixth-minute flick came down off the crossbar but assistant referee Sean Carr, who, according to McGregor “was not up with play”, did not signal for a goal.
Goal-line technology is used in the English Premier League and also in the top flights in Italy, France and also Germany, where it has only been introduced this season.
But Spanish football authorities have so far resisted its introduction, with Lionel Messi recently having a goal disallowed in a La Liga fixture between Barcelona and Valencia when the ball obviously crossed the line.
So Shaw is at least in good company as he attempts to process the disappointment of having a first Edinburgh goal erroneously ruled out.
Play was allowed to rage on and there were no further goals, phantom or otherwise, as Hearts and Hibs fought out a fiery 0-0 draw.
McGregor revealed referee Steven Mclean admitted his assistant made a grave error but told the Hibs defender there was nothing he could do.
“I spoke to the ref midway through the second half and said it was obviously a poor decision and he held his hands up and said: ‘we can’t change it now’,” recalled McGregor.
“To be honest I respect that,” he added. “At least he is giving his opinion. He did say at the time the lino [linesman] has missed it. I am sure he never meant to intentionally see the ball go over the line and then not give it. He missed it. What can you do? What can the ref do in that instance?
“I respect Steve. He is a great referee. He sees it as it is. But it begs the question why is there not some form of technology to clarify?
“You would think it would be easy to install it. In circumstances like that you are only talking about a split second when you know or you don’t know if a goal has been given and you can avoid a situation like this.
“I am sure it would make their [officials’] job easier. I can’t see why anyone would contest it. Is it maybe a financial thing, I am not sure. You need to ask them.
“It would suit all parties,” McGregor added. “It would suit us because it gives us
clarity. It would make their job a lot easier because they would not be getting it in the neck from the gaffer at half-time and full-time!”
McGregor described how he knew it was a bad decision when he heard manager Neil Lennon shouting at Carr during the interval. But he said he hoped Hibs’ recent poor fortune in the respect of officials’ decisions – they were also denied a penalty in the recent 2-1 defeat by Rangers – will even out over the course of the season.
“I am a great believer in a sometimes they go for you and sometimes they go against you so if the powers that be want to change if great, but if not I just hope we get a bit of luck later in the season,” he said.
McGregor added there would be plenty other opportunities for 19 year-old Shaw to get his first Edinburgh derby goal – at least one that counted.
“I was speaking to Lewis [Stevenson] and he said he has played in 30, and I was like ‘wow, 30?’ I am sure Oli when he gets up and running will be the same. There are plenty more derbies to score in.”