The discussion surrounding Celtic’s recent conceded goal against St Johnstone has focused primarily on the physicality aspect, echoing Brendan Rodgers’ sentiment that Celtic players need to exhibit more strength in similar situations. This is especially pertinent given a similar goal concession against Motherwell in their previous SPFL title match.

However, there’s another dimension to this scenario that involves the role of VAR. During the buildup to St Johnstone’s goal, there was an apparent handball incident just before the ball crossed the line. This wasn’t initially highlighted in the commentary, possibly due to the number of players involved in the play. But the job of VAR is to scrutinize such infractions and ensure the legitimacy of goals.

3rd December 2023; McDiarmid Park, Perth, Scotland: Scottish Premiership Football, St Johnstone versus Celtic; Jay Turner Cooke of St Johnstone has his head in his hands after Joe Hart of Celtic pulls off a save from his header

Surprisingly, the VAR check for this particular goal was brief, with no indication from the VAR team that they were examining any specific element of the play. Generally, while all goals are reviewed, if there’s a specific issue under scrutiny, the VAR team communicates this to the on-field referee, and broadcasters like Sky Sports are also informed. In this case, there was no such communication, and the potential handball wasn’t thoroughly examined.

This oversight raises questions about the effectiveness and application of VAR in such crucial moments. In modern football, goals are typically disallowed if a handball is involved in controlling the ball leading to the goal. The lack of attention to this potential infraction in the Celtic vs. St Johnstone game, therefore, seems unusual and has left many wondering why such a critical incident was seemingly overlooked.

Have a look for yourself.


  1. While watching the St. Johnstone / Celtic game yesterday, I shouted hand ball before the ball crossed the line. I am very surprised that I am watching ,and more surprised that VAR did not pick up on it!! It must just have been a genuine mistake!!! This VAR IS A JOKE!! And even more so against Celtic!! Yes it was Kevin Clancy yesterday, but Andy Dallas, who seems to be in overall charge, has already called me a Fenian bast*””d.!! I for one do not accept ” genuine mistakes from middens like him!!!

  2. Celtic need to be better, then var does not matter.
    Our team is small & lacks any muscle, except the central defenders and OH.
    O’Riley was able to head the initial ball clear, he didn’t, he took a swipe at fresh air instead, he got a 2nd chance to clear and only hit it off the opponent into the net, O’Riley did score with a once in a blue moon shot, I can’t see what he brings to the team and I never will, watch future matches and you can decide he can’t sprint, he can’t jump, he can’t header, he can’t shoot, he can’t tackle, he can be sold for the highest fee ASAP.
    The whole team was flat, pass pass pass pass tactics don’t create chances, on several occasions we only had Kyogo in the box and no one else to back him up, 9 defenders v Kyogo.
    Brendan was angry at half time, I was furious with the lack of effort, zero motivation and literally nil chances created.
    Brendan sets the team up so he is failing as all I see is boring football again with him back, I tried to give him a chance but he’s not taking it.
    We should stop the huddle, it’s not having the effect it’s supposed to.
    Taylor has energy but runs into areas and restricts the movement of Palma, Taylor forgets to defend and should have been replaced long ago.
    Grandad Forrest might have scored but he’s restricting the development of youngsters, Young Vatta will move on and I can’t blame the lad when your never given a chance.
    There are possibilities for several other players to come through, however, Forrest, Mikey J, Taylor, Turnbull, have had their chance, so it’s time to say thank you and let them play football elsewhere.
    Tickets won’t sell with performances like that.
    Tickets won’t sell if the quality is not there to entertain.
    Tickets won’t sell when directors are given bonuses from sales, but once again club is left embarrassed in Europe.
    My rant is over, watch the players mentioned closely, especially what I said about O’Riley.


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