May 24, 2024

The SFA’s “clearly unacceptable” decision to put off negotiations over a contentious Old Firm derby decision until at least Wednesday, January 3, has angered Rangers.

On Saturday, December 30, Philippe Clement lost his debut game as Rangers’ manager when Celtic defeated him 2-1 at Celtic Park in a thrilling match.

The decision to not give Alistair Johnson a penalty for a handball in the first half, however, infuriated the Gers.

The decision has “astonished” the Rangers, who are furious that the audio from the VAR talks has not been made public. The decision to postpone talks until after the upcoming round of Scottish Premiership fixtures has also drawn criticism from them.

“Despite repeated Rangers FC requests, the Scottish FA have so far failed to disclose the VAR audio to allow the club to understand the process around the non-award of a penalty in the first half of yesterday’s Old Firm match,” stated a statement from Rangers, as published by the Daily Record on December 31. Rangers representatives are available at any moment to meet with the Scottish FA, either in person or online, to listen to and discuss the audio.

“However, the Scottish FA are refusing to both share the VAR audio and meet until at least Wednesday, five days after the Old Firm match and after the next round of Scottish Premiership fixtures. This is clearly unacceptable and heightens Rangers’ concerns over the lack of transparency, for which the need is urgent.

“Rangers have learned no penalty was awarded as the VAR official, Willie Collum, concluded a handball offence had not occurred in the first half. While the club and most observers are astonished by this ‘professional’ view, we remain perplexed and concerned about the Scottish FA’s motivations for sharing an offside image with broadcasters during the second half, when this was not the original reason why the penalty was not awarded.

“England’s Premier League and other leading European Leagues operate on a ‘nothing to hide’ basis, where open communication and full transparency are available to clubs and the public on contentious VAR calls in a timely manner. On a weekend where not only Rangers but also fellow Scottish FA member clubs have major questions over potentially match-changing incidents, our governing body would do well to heed that same mantra.”

Unforgivable

Look, no one wants to be discussing officials, no one wants to be blaming referees, or the VAR, or any of the officials. All anyone wants is to be discussing the football, not controversial decisions.

And the fact is none of us really know if the outcome of the game would have been different had a penalty be awarded, but it certainly would have helped Rangers and it really did look a confusing decision.

What really is unforgivable is delaying the talks with Rangers. Okay, it’s New Year’s Eve, then New Year’s Day but delaying these discussions until after another round of Premiership fixtures really does not sit right.

As for Rangers, there is absolutely no time to sit and dwell on might have been. It is a case of lick the wounds, reground, and go again. This title race is not over because of this game, it’s time to refocus on the greater prize.

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