‘It’s really difficult to call’ - Ex-Celtic and Rangers stars deliberate VAR flashpoint during Old Firm derby

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Referee Don Robertson’s decision has split opinion among pundits and fans alike.

Neil McCann and Charlie Mulgrew failed to reach to an agreement over Don Robertson’s decision to chop off Rangers striker Kemar Roofe’s goal against Celtic at Ibrox on Sunday.

The Jamaican international thought he’d fired the home side in front after producing a composed finish, having been played in on goal by Cyriel Dessers. The Nigerian dispossessed Hoops defender Gustaf Lagerbielke deep inside Celtic’s half, but the referee was later called over to the VAR monitor to check for a potential foul by Dessers in the build up.

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After reviewing the incident closely, Robertson decided to go against his original on-field call and awarded the visitors a free-kick - a decision which has split opinion among pundits and fans alike ever since.

Kemar Roofe scores Rangers first goal which is later disallowed by VARKemar Roofe scores Rangers first goal which is later disallowed by VAR
Kemar Roofe scores Rangers first goal which is later disallowed by VAR | Getty Images

Debating the incident on Sportscene last night, former Rangers winger McCann said: “I am always very honest as you know but I think this should stand. I just want to direct you to Lagerbielke’s reaction and then Callum McGregor. It’s a good ball by Dessers but look at the reaction of both players.

“They aren’t looking at the referee. Callum McGregor has turned away in disgust because his centre-back has been caught under pressure and has been robbed. I think the goal should stand, Lagerbielke has actually kicked Dessers by getting himself in front and that happens 20 times a game.”

Ex-Celtic centre-back Mulgrew then explained: “The Celtic player is delayed on the ball and he has to be better. But in the action he has tried to play it back to his goalkeeper and that is probably the right thing to do.

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“Dessers has stopped that action from happening and I understand if he puts his leg there and touches the ball with his first motion, he’s went and won the ball. He has put his leg there knowing he’s stopping the Celtic player from playing it back to his goalkeeper so in that action he’s created a foul.

“If Dessers goes down Rangers get the foul. So it is the grey area here, it’a funny one and one of the ones where it’s hard to call. No matter how much you talk about it, it’s really difficult to call, it’s about opinions.

“If it had been inside the box and Dessers was about to have a finish, the shoe is on the other foot, and the Celtic defender puts his foot in front of Dessers and blocks him from shooting, it’s probably going to be a penalty. So if you look at it the other way you can see why the referee has given a foul in that instance.”

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