Celtic reveal SFA approach after VAR chaos against Hearts and Tynecastle ref Nick Walsh handball controversy

MICHAEL NICHOLSON has revealed Celtic have sought answers from the SFA regarding the Hearts VAR handball controversy.

Referee Nick Walsh was not advised to watch replays of the penalty request last month Tynecastle win 4-3.


James Forrest’s ball hit Michael Smith and prompted calls for a penalty.
The Celtic players' pleas for Nick Walsh fell on deaf ears as the whistle beckoned to play in last month's clash without consulting his monitor.


The Celtic players’ pleas for Nick Walsh fell on deaf ears as the whistle beckoned to play in last month’s clash without consulting his monitor.Credit: Alan Harvey / SNS Group

Celtic chief executive Nicholson has confirmed the club have asked the SFA to explain why VAR Steven McLean made that call in the Hearts shock.

He said: “We lobbied the SFA for many years and SPFL to ensure that we have the best match officials possible.

“The first step was to push for VAR, which worked well! The second was to raise our concerns about VAR with the SFA.

“With regard to the specific incident, we asked about how the rules had been applied.

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“It’s inevitable with the early stages of VAR there will be teething problems.

“But you can be assured that we continue to press this issue together with the SFA and the SPFL.

“It’s easy to get caught up in individual decisions one way or another. It seems that handball is applied in different ways in different countries.

“What we have as a club, like all clubs in Scotland, is the interest in having the best possible match officials and match regulation so that we can focus on football.

“There is a working group that the SPFL has brought together from all the clubs.

“We are not the only club to share this view and we will continue to push for the highest standards of officials.”

Yesterday, Nicholson addressed a number of fan concerns during a spirited Parkhead Town Hall.

A bettor bypassed on a section of the Celtic IRA singing support and the chief executive urged officials to clean up their songbook.

He said: “We are aware of the problems that have arisen in home and away games.

“I think if you look at the context first, it’s not unique to Celtic. There are societal issues that are being experienced by many clubs around the world.

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“It is also, in our opinion, a small minority of support, far from the wider Celtic support.

“It is obvious that some of the behaviors experienced do not represent the opinions of the people here or the opinions of the club.”

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