McGregor: VAR penalty was ‘a slightly strange experience’

The Celtic midfielder gave his views on the referee's use of the new video system.

Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor revealed he found his first experience of VAR in a big match to be “slightly strange” but had no complaints about the referee’s penalty decision.

With the score finely balanced at 1-1 in the Europa League first leg against FC Copenhagen, match official Sergei Kasarev used the pitchside monitor before awarding the hosts a penalty and showing Ryan Christie a yellow card.

Celtic keeper Fraser Forster saved the spot kick from Jens Stage, earning his side a draw on the night and giving them a slight advantage to take back to Glasgow.

“Obviously there’s been a lot of debate about it,” McGregor said after the match. “It’s the first time we’ve used it in a competitive game.

“At the time I didn’t see anything wrong with it but when the referee pulls it back you see it is a handball. Whether it’s deliberate or not is up for debate.

“It’s a slightly strange experience but you have to get on with it. It’s part of the game now and we get on with it as best we can.”

Players are not permitted to encourage referees to consult the monitors but the Celtic player said he felt protests may have influenced the official in the heat of the moment.

“It seemed that way,” he said. “We were told before the game not to make any gestures in terms of using the monitors or anything like that.

“It felt at the time that with them being the home team the fans got on top of it and one thing leads to another.

“We have to remain professional, do as we are told and just deal with it accordingly.”

Celtic’s busy schedule continues with a Premiership test against Kilmarnock on Sunday and McGregor said attention would quickly shift from Europe to maintaining the club’s lead at the top of the league table.

“It’s thick and fast,” he said. “The games seem to be coming round all the time but that’s what you want when you’re in a good run of form.

“Again, it’s a tough game. They’re always organised when they come to Celtic Park and the onus is on us to deal with that and get the three points.”


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