Celtic cruised to a 4-1 victory over Hibs on Wednesday night, putting a performance that showed a reaction from Sunday’s struggles in Perth.

Former Premier League referee, and Sky Sports man, Dermot Gallagher has weighed in on the penalty Celtic were awarded after VAR instructed John Beaton to have a second look at the challenge on Alistair Johnston.

Alistair Johnston Celtic
3rd December 2023; McDiarmid Park, Perth, Scotland: Scottish Premiership Football, St Johnstone versus Celtic; Alistair Johnston of Celtic celebrates towards the fans after the Matt ORiley of Celtic goal in the 79th minute makes it 2-1

Stevenson was deemed to have fouled Johnston inside the box, leading to a penalty for Celtic.

At the time, referee John Beaton did not spot the infringement, but a subsequent VAR review prompted him to award the penalty, which was successfully converted by Luis Palma.

Gallagher, analysing the situation, agreed with the decision made following the VAR review.

He stuck up for referee, John Beaton, though, saying his view was obstructed, saying; “He [Stevenson] catches him with the back leg as he slides in. There are so many bodies around there that the referee is looking through. Kyogo puts his arms up for a penalty, but the ref can’t see it. VAR sends him to look at the screen.

“I think there’s too many players between. Kyogo in the middle who actually appeals for a penalty, there’s a direct line and he can’t see it. He would relay back to VAR and say ‘I can’t see clearly’. The VAR would then say, ‘Well, he’s taken his back leg and you’ll need to go and have a look.’ He looks at it and gives the penalty.”

It’s moments like that when VAR is useful, however, it did feel like a lengthy check before Beaton went to the screen, for something he really should be picking up in real-time.


  1. Not the first time var has corrected Beaton with missing infringement on Celtic players in opposition box last time was a blatant hand ball and I’m sure there are more and more a referee who drinks in a sevco pub since before 2012 should have his alligence questionsd on calls for or against Celtic and sevco so how many poor decisions before he’s made to retire


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