Rangers penalty incident vs Celtic assessed as pundits slam VAR for ignoring Alistair Johnston 'handball'

Hoops right-back Johnston tried to usher the ball out of play under pressure from Abdallah Sima with the use of a hand
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Sky Sports pundits Kris Boyd, James McFadden and Neil Lennon have unanimously agreed that Rangers should have been awarded a penalty following Alistair Johnston's 'handball' incident.

The Ibrox side were trailing Old Firm rivals Celtic 1-0 as the first half drew to a close after Paulo Bernardo's sensational strike on the half-volley from a corner that wasn't cleared by Abdallah Sima.

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But the visitors were denied the opportunity to equalise from the penalty spot - with Sima involved again - as the Gers attacker challenged Johnston for a loose ball on the byline of the Celtic box. The Canadian right-back appeared to handle the ball with an outstretched arm as he attempted to usher it out of play under pressure.

VAR operator Willie Collum reviewed the incident, but after a short check, on-field referee Nick Walsh waved play on. The decision was debated by all three pundits at half-time and while acknowledging it wasn't deliberate, the panel were in agreement that it was a stonewall penalty, with ex-Celtic manager Lennon suggesting the officials made a "clear and obvious" mistake.

Presenter Eilidh Barbour admitted that former English referee Mike Dean had been asked about the incident and also confirmed it should have been given. Asked for his reaction to the penalty claim, McFadden commented: "Yes, I think we're in all agreement."

Former Rangers striker Boyd was left bemused at the call as he criticised VAR for failing to advise Walsh to check the incident on the pitch side monitor. He stated: "100 per cent. Sima's got that down the other side of him. Listen, it's accidental but it's going to lead to a chance. Sima is there and Alistair Johnston's hand puts it out of play. He's used his arm to take the ball away from Sima. It's a penalty kick all day long.

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Lennon felt his old side had been fortunate with the decision and claimed he would have been furious if the decision has gone against his team. He concluded: "If I was the manager and that went against me I would be apoplectic. It's just such a clear one, especially when you see it from behind the goal. I know it's not intentional from Alistair but he actually stops Sima getting across him and getting a cross in. It is accidental but it's clear and obvious."

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