Pundit asks “what’s the point in VAR?” as Celtic red card evokes ‘embarrassing’ response

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Hoops skipper Callum McGregor felt the decisions to send of Gustaf Lagerbielke and Odin Thiago Holm were “slightly harsh”.

Celtic got their Champions League group stage campaign off to a losing start in the Netherlands on Tuesday night - but one decision made during the 2-0 defeat to Feyenoord left pundit Michael Stewart questioning the use of VAR technology.

The Hoops slumped to a disappointing loss in Rotterdam, despite proving more than a match for the Dutch champions before hitting the self-destruct button. Gustaf Lagerbielike and Odin Thiago Holm were sent off in the second half to leave Brendan Rodgers with no complaints over both decisions.

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The Parkhead boss called out Swedish defender Lagerbielke for his “inexperience” after throwing an arm across the face of Igor Paixao to concede a penalty. He recieved a second yellow card in the process but the decision has been criticised by ex-Hibs and Hearts midfielder Stewart.

The BBC and TNT Sports pundit viewed the incident differently to Rodgers and reckons the match officials were wrong to hand Feyenoord a penalty in the first place. Spot-kicks are more often than now reviewed by VAR, which led Stewart to question why Bosnian referee Irfan Peljto didn’t overturn the call.

He tweeted: “Embarrassing from the officials. What’s the point in VAR if you can’t recognise that’s the wrong decision?”

Although the penalty was saved Joe Hart, Celtic were unable to stage a comeback and were fortunate not to concede more than two goals after substitute Holm’s dismissal.

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While Rodgers felt both red cards were justified, Hoops skipper Callum McGregor branded the decisions “harsh.” He stated: “The sendings off were maybe slightly harsh but in Uefa competitions the leniency isn’t very high.”

Despite finishing the match with nine men, McGregor saw enough in the performance to suggest they can still salvage their Group E campaign and bounce back from the defeat on Matchday Two when they host Lazio.

He admitted: “It was a difficult game. I thought we started really well then of course they got the goal before half-time which undoes a lot of the good work. Then we had two men sent off in quick succession which takes the game away from you.

“The boys hung in there well and it could have been easy to lose four or five, which is testament to the group. We’ve got five games to go and hopefully they walked off that pitch knowing we didn’t quit or give up and there’s a game at Celtic Park to come.

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“We have to take a lesson that you need to play with 11 players at this level. It’s hard enough then never mind having nine. So there’s a learning in that but we have five games to get out of the group. The positive is how we started then and we didn’t give up. There were some good sequences of passes and one or two half chances.”

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