Ross County manager Malky Mackay urges patience over VAR introduction

The new refereeing system has been a controversial addition to Scottish football.

Ross County manager Malky Mackay urges patience over VAR introduction SNS Group

Ross County manager Malky Mackay called for patience as Scottish football deals with the introduction of VAR but stressed there would always be subjective decisions after his side were awarded a contentious penalty at Celtic Park.

Matt O’Riley was penalised after a team-mate hit the ball off County player Callum Johnson at close range and the ball ricocheted on to the midfielder’s arm, which was right on the edge of the box.

David Cancola netted from the 50th-minute penalty but Celtic came back to win through goals from David Turnbull and Sead Haksabanovic.

Mackay said: “Listen, there are are going to be subjective ones but it’s clear in England after a number of years, it’s gone up from 83 to 98 per cent in terms of the accuracy of decisions. And the big ones will always be better for us now.

“There’s always going to be subjective ones, we have had a couple against us already. You swallow it and get on with it.

“But I was in at the VAR centre two weeks ago and, having seen what it is that they are actually going though, it is going to take a bit of time and it is going to be better for Scottish football.”

Mackay does not expect fans and the media to have patience.

“Nobody will because that’s good for debate and it’s good for everything else that goes on but we need to have patience inside the game because it has got better in England,” he said.

“And there’s no doubting I had decisions against me last year that were unbelievably awful, and in hindsight the referees supervisor looked at it and said, ‘Yep, we made a massive mistake there’.

“There will be some subjective ones but the big mistakes won’t happen and that’s what changes careers.”

Mackay accepts that the interpretation of the handball rule is the biggest issue – Celtic have conceded four penalties in four games because of it, although two were in the Champions League.

“I think you see that everywhere, you saw it with Celtic and Real Madrid the other week,” the former Celtic player said. “You are talking about the rule-makers at the very, very top level.

“That handball one is the one that is causing the most issues. That’s the one that seems to be very, very subjective at the moment.

“Someone that’s not looking at the ball and it hits their elbow from five yards at 40-50 miles per hour, I’m not really sure what you are supposed to do there because the hands-behind-the-back defending is beyond me, and it’s kind of where we are going.

“But nobody is trying to get it wrong and (head of referees operations) Crawford Allan and his team have got this into Scottish football so we are not the poor relations. We have to be at the same table as everyone else at the top of Europe. Then once we are there we have the ability to help change.”

Celtic go into the World Cup break nine points clear after their eighth consecutive league win.

Manager Ange Postecoglou said: “Where we are in terms of points in relation to other clubs is not the important bit.

“It is how we are performing and how we are dealing with things, the challenges. It has been a really strong start to the season, but we are less than halfway through and there is a lot of football to be played.

“We are going to see a lot of growth when the league resumes in our players after what they have been through.

“Matty and Reo (Hatate) have pretty much played every game. When Cal (McGregor) went down, there were big shoes to fill. He is an influential figure, outstanding footballer, and those two relatively young guys have done that.

“They will come out of this much better footballers. When we come back the schedule, even though it’s busy, is nowhere near as hectic. And we’re going to see the benefits of that.” 

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