Former Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas has branded VAR a ‘national embarrassment’ after the part which the technology played over the weekend’s Viaplay Cup matches at Hampden.

Many people in Scottish football were against the introduction if technology if it wasn’t going to be used properly which is continually appearing to be the case as a number of clubs and players have spoken about the decisions which it has made wrongly which he considers to have made the game in Scotland a total ‘laughing stock’.

Nicholas believes that the SFA and SPFL should be ashamed after they opted for the ‘cut-price’ VAR which even broke down during the second cup semi final tie over the weekend as play continued without the use of the technology.


During Celtic’s showdown against Kilmarnock on Saturday evening, the former Arsenal star reckons that the Ayrshire side were denied a ‘stonewaller’ after Joe Wright fell to the ground following pressure from Celtic forward Giorgos Giakoumakis.

The spot kick wasn’t given and referee Willie Collum was not called back to examine the decision as Derek McInnes and his team felt aggrieved not to have been given the penalty.

VAR was not the only issue over the weekend as the surface at Hampden was also appalling made worse by the weather.

“The Viaplay Cup semi-finals should have been two showcase events for Scottish football, but the VAR farce and an awful Hampden pitch made it a national embarrassment,” said Nicholas in the Scottish Daily Express.

“With Celtic clinging on to a 1-0 lead against Kilmarnock on Saturday, substitute Giorgos Giakoumakis’ clumsy challenge on Joe Wright should have been a penalty. It was a stonewaller.

Giakoumakis looked frustrated, maybe because he is likely to be leaving Parkhead this month. How Killie weren’t given the spot-kick, I will never know. VAR checked it but referee Willie Collum wasn’t even asked to review his original decision.

“In the lead-up to the semi, Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou and his captain Callum McGregor had claimed they were due a VAR break. The Hoops certainly got one at the weekend. After getting away with his challenge, Giakoumakis added insult to injury for Killie by going up to the other end of the field to score the goal that sealed a 2-0 win.

“Things didn’t get any better in Sunday’s semi between Rangers and Aberdeen when we had the ridiculous scenario of VAR breaking down and being abandoned after Kemar Roofe had put the Light Blues 2-1 ahead early in extra time.

“About four minutes later, though, it was suddenly announced over the public address system that it was back up and running. Scottish football opted to go for the cut-price version of VAR that costs £250,000 per season and now we are paying the price.

“The cheaper model provides limited cameras and back-up for our officials. Is this how we want to promote our game to the world?

“We should be giving officials the best tools and training – not to mention a full-time wage – so we can get back to talking about football again. We had two exciting semis and look at what made the headlines. It’s ridiculous.

“We’ve tried to do things on the cheap by cutting corners and it is turning our game into a laughing stock at times. The clubs, SPFL and SFA need to get together and agree to do VAR properly. Do it right and give our refs a chance.”



  1. So let me get this straight.. We get the cheapest version of var at £250k per season. Paid for by the clubs? Meanwhile the sfa is running the system?
    The same sfa blazers that went to the world Cup that we didn’t qualify for. 5 star accommodation, all expenses paid, 1 St class flights. Etc etc… So why are the clubs paying for the var?

  2. The refs need to give them self a chance , with consistency in decision making, different games same scenario but different decision, the rules would appear to change depending on the colour of Jersey, with no one at the SFA taking note, some things never change.


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