Premiership's first VAR official appointed ahead of Easter Road debut

Willie Collum will take on the role as the top flight's first video assistant when the technology arrives in Scotland this week.

Willie Collum appointed Scottish Premiership’s first VAR official ahead of Hibs v St Johnstone debut SNS Group

Referee Willie Collum will act as the Scottish Premiership’s first VAR official when the technology makes its debut in the domestic game.

The experienced whistler will be the “man in the truck” when Hibernian host St Johnstone at Easter Road on Friday evening.

The match – which is expected to be a sell-out – will see a minimum of six cameras deployed around the stadium, with on-field official Kevin Clancy able to reassess decisions if necessary.

Those can only be referred to VAR 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.

Collum, one of Scotland’s most senior referees, will be assisted by Graeme Stewart. All VAR officials for the remainder of the season will be current or recently retired category one referees and will monitor play at a central video operations room.

Officials have been undergoing training on how the technology will be implemented over the last few months and are now “ready for the real thing,” according to the Scottish FA’s head of refereeing, Crawford Allan.

“We’ve been running the matches in the background, so the testing has gone really well, and the referees are enjoying it,” he said.

“But there’s only so much you can do on a background check, and they just want to close that 5% off and actually communicate with the referees on the field of play and absolutely make a difference and positively in terms of getting the big decisions right.”

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