VAR set for Scottish debut in Friday night Premiership clash

VAR will now be used in every topflight game going forward.

Scotland is set to welcome video assisted refereeing to the Premiership for the first time tonight when Hibs host St Johnstone in Edinburgh.

VAR will now be used in every top flight game if and when needed from Friday night onwards.

Despite being used in the majority of major leagues throughout the continent since it was first used for a professional game in the Netherlands in 2016, Scotland has stalled on introducing it until now.

Man in the truck: Willie Collum will be Scotland's first VAR official. SNS Group

The technology has only previously been used in the country in games involving Scottish teams in European competitions but will now be rolled out for the rest of this season and beyond.

The system will also be used in the latter stages of the main cup competitions for the semi-finals and final of the Scottish Cup and League Cup and is intended to be used under FIFA’s principle of “minimum interference, maximum benefit”.

It has been used in every major international tournament since the 2018 World Cup and was introduced in the English Premier League in 2019.

It was initially intended to be brought into the Premiership after the 2022 World Cup, but officials have now agreed to get it underway earlier than planned.

The referee for the Hibs vs St Johnstone game will be Kevin Clancy and Willie Collum will act VAR official when the technology makes its debut.

The experienced whistler will be the “man in the truck” for the match – which will see a minimum of six cameras deployed around the stadium and Clancy able to reassess decisions if necessary.

The second Premiership game to use VAR will be the Hearts vs Celtic clash at Tynecastle in Saturday’s early kick-off.

Ibrox has had several VAR moments in the Europa and Champions League over the last few years but it will have its league debut at the stadium when Rangers host Livingston.

Other Saturday afternoon kick-offs in the technology’s first weekend of action include Kilmarnock vs Ross County at Rugby Park and Motherwell vs Aberdeen in North Lanarkshire.

St Mirren take on Dundee United in Paisley to complete the weekend’s action.

Officials say VAR will only be used in the event of a clear and obvious error or a serious missed incident, where the issue being looked at is a straight red card, penalty area incident, goal or case of mistaken identity.

The SFA’s head of refereeing operations believes it will “make a positive impact to the big decisions.”

Crawford Allan insists that referees are “very ready” for its implementation

He said: “I’ve used the analogy, it’s like passing your driving test. We’ve all been signed off now in terms of our approval technology, referees and the guys and girls have all been given their driving licenses, so to speak, and it’s a bit like, ‘we want to get in the car and drive it’.”

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