Johnston calls for consistency over handball rule after Ibrox decision

The Canada right-back made his Celtic debut in the draw at Ibrox.

Alistair Johnston calls for VAR consistency over handball rule after Ibrox penalty call SNS Group

Celtic defender Alistair Johnston has called for consistency over the handball rule after the referee refused a penalty shout in Monday’s draw at Ibrox.

The Hoops were denied a spot-kick following a VAR check when a Carl Starfelt shot struck Connor Goldson’s hands as he covered his face inside the box.

The game finished 2-2 after a late Kyogo Furuhashi equaliser and while Johnston believes the decision was the wrong one he insists they won’t be the blaming the ref or VAR for the score line.

“I think it is hard to argue that it is a natural hand position, as a defender especially, if you put your hands up there you know you are running the risk.

Johnston made his Celtic debut in the 2-2 draw.SNS Group

“I thought it was a penalty, but it is what it is, it’s a 90 minute match and that was just one decision that was made, there was so many other moments when we could have done better.

“We had other opportunities to take control of things we can control, so that was more frustrating for us.

“We are not looking back saying ‘VAR screwed us’, that was a decision that went against us but hopefully others will go for us in the future and that’s just the nature of the game.”

The decision not to award the penalty is the latest in a string of decisions since the introduction of VAR that left Celtic fans feeling particularly hard done by.

But recent IFAB guidance states that if the defender’s hands are covering his face as a natural reflex action, and he has not made his body unnaturally bigger as a result, then the correct decision would be no penalty.

However Johston believes the message needs to be clearer and says “questions will be asked” if a similar incident results in a penalty against Celtic in the coming weeks.

The Canada international said: “All we want is consistency, that’s the main thing you want as a footballer. As a defender now especially with how defending in the box is, you are pretty much told you can only defend with your hands at your side and then you see someone putting their hands over their face and not being given as a pen.

“If there’s a similar one for us in the coming weeks and goes it against us then there is going to be questions asked.

“But as long as it’s consistent then we are happy with it.”

Celtic took an early lead through Daizen Maeda before Ryan Kent levelled and James Tavernier scored a penalty to make it 2-1.

Kyogo made it 2-2 with five minutes remaining and Celtic left the southside of the city with their nine-point lead still intact.

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