Kris Commons ‘baffled’ by referee Bobby Madden’s semi-final display as ex-Celtic star claims VAR won’t fix standard of officiating

The technology could be introduced in the Scottish Premiership by the end of the year

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Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst celebrates his side taking the lead in extra time against Celtic.

Kris Commons reckons VAR won’t have the desired impact in Scottish football because of an ‘awful standard of refereeing”.

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Madden branded a total of seven yellow cards throughout the 120 minutes but some of his decisions “baffled” Commons, including not to caution John Lundstram for a series of late challenges.

Referee Bobby Madden (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

All 42 SPFL member clubs will vote on whether or not VAR should be implemented in the Premiership following the World Cup finals in Qatar.

However, Commons believes the poor standard of officating will remain a problem even if the technology is used.

Writing in his Daily Mail column, he said: “A lot of people were questioning the performance of referee Bobby Madden. In all honesty, I found some of his decisions absolutely baffling.

“John Lundstram was excellent in the heart of the Rangers midfield, but the reality is that he was extremely fortunate to stay on the pitch for as long as he did.

“He could have been booked quite easily on three different occasions at the very least. But Madden was extremely lenient, to put it mildly.

“This raises another question. What good is VAR going to be in Scotland when the basic level of officiating is so obviously incompetent?

“Yeah, VAR will obviously will help with the big decisions like penalties and red cards. But you are still relying on the referees showing a basic level of competency beyond that.

“When we’ve got such an awful standard of refereeing, VAR isn’t going to be the silver bullet that a lot of people seem to think.

“The performance of Madden doesn’t take away from the fact that Rangers were simply the better team on the day. They deserved to win.”

Despite the odds being seemingly stacked against them given their Europa League exploits against Braga last Thursday, Commons heaped praise on Rangers’ resolve for coming through another gruelling 120 minutes at Hampden with a win.

The former Celtic playmaker paid credit to Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst for restoring his ‘reputation’ after keeping the Ibrox club’s season alive and kicking.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou with Rangers counterpart Giovanni van Bronckhorst after full-time at Hampden. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Commons believes back-to-back defeats would have led fans to call for the Dutchman to be sacked but insists he is the right man to lead the gers into a summer rebuild.

He stated: “What a phenomenal effort that was from Rangers. It was a triumph not only of fitness, but of courage and sheer desire.

“Their determination to go the extra mile and find some extra reserves of energy and power was all the more impressive given what happened against Braga on Thursday night.

“To go the full distance of 120 minutes and win in extra-time says a lot about a team’s attitude. To do it twice in a matter of days is truly remarkable.

“All the more so when you consider the context of both games. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that Rangers’ entire season hinged on the outcome of both of these games.

“Had things not gone to plan, their whole season would now be in ruins. Braga would have dumped them out of Europe, with Celtic then marching on towards a Treble.

Scott Arfield celebrates after scoring Rangers' equaliser against Celtic at Hampden. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

“If that had happened, fans would have been calling for Van Bronckhorst to be relieved of his duties in the summer.

“That’s how things work in the Glasgow goldfish bowl. It wouldn’t have mattered that he’s still relatively new in the job.

“Instead, the picture now looks totally different. Rangers now have a Europa League semi-final to look forward to as well as a Scottish Cup final.

“It always felt like this could be a defining few days for Van Bronckhorst and full credit to him because he has passed it with flying colours.

“These two victories have restored his reputation among the Ibrox supporters at a time when he was beginning to come under serious scrutiny.

“Back-to-back wins in games of such magnitude show fans that he will be the man to lead the club forward next season after an inevitable squad rebuild in the summer.”