Michael Nicholson in VAR speech at Celtic AGM as Tynecastle handball incident comes up

MICHAEL NICHOLSON reaffirmed that Celtic support VAR when speaking at today’s AGM.

Various issues were discussed between the club’s board and its shareholders during an open forum at the stadium.

Inevitably, with its introduction still very fresh in the minds of all fans, VAR was brought up during a Q&A session.

A recent incident at Tynecastle in Celtic’s 4-3 win over Hearts has been brought up where Hoops fans felt aggrieved that their side were denied a handball penalty against Michael Smith.

General manager Nicholson was asked if the club had sought clarification on the decision-making process behind this particular appeal.

He explained: “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 – and all the clubs in Scotland have – is the interest in having the best possible match officials and the regulation of matches so that we can focus on football. .

“As we mentioned last year – and as Ian Bankier almost got in trouble – we lobbied the SFA and SPFL for many years to make sure we had the best possible match officials.

“The first step with that was pushing for VAR – which worked well.

“The second step was to raise our concerns about VAR with the SFA.

“Regarding the specific incident (at Hearts), we asked about how the rules had been applied.

“I think it’s inevitable that with the early stages of VAR there will be some teething problems.

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

“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, we will continue to encourage them.”