Watching the beautiful game has lost its appeal since the introduction of VAR in Scotland.
I recall listening to a radio debate once it became clear that technology was on its way to our top-flight stadia in October 2022.
There would be far less debate and arguments over decisions which can decide games, seemed to be the thrust of the discussion.
Has that happened? No. The fun has been stripped from our sport and even goals can no longer be celebrated in true fashion.
VAR is getting decisions right, that seems to be clear.
However, there appears to be so much that is still open for argument that we’re spending too much time talking about what’s right and wrong.
As things stand, VAR is used in Scottish Premiership matches, the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup and in the semi-finals and final of the Viaplay Cup.
More penalties are being awarded and this means more goals, which should be good for supporters all round.
Yet, it seems common sense has been thrown out the window because players can be offside by the distance of a fingernail. Where’s the advantage there?
When it comes down to it, we still rely on the judgement of two officials to get decisions correct.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers riled by latest VAR incident
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, on the back of his team’s 6-0 Champions League defeat at Atletico Madrid last week, said football is like a video game now.
With Celtic trailing by an early goal in Spain, a challenge by Daizen Maeda on Mario Hermoso on the shin was initially deemed worth a booking.
However, referee Ivan Kruzliak was asked to review it pitch-side and, under intense pressure from Atletico, he upgraded the colour of the card to red.
Rodgers was asked whether the strong home reaction had a bearing on the decision being changed, the Hoops boss said: “Yes. There is no doubt about that. I don’t want to go on about officials as I’ve never been one to complain as you have to accept decisions.
“It feels like a computer game as everybody is constantly looking at the screens. Like I said when the referee comes over to see the incident it is not a reflection of the actual challenge.
“It is a still with his foot up and straight away plants the seed for the referee. From there, his influence is to send the player off.”
Increasing chances of correct calls
He said: “As an on-field referee we’re making decisions in split seconds, we’ve seen one angle.
“In the VAR room, we’ve got the privilege of six cameras on every match and many more on our live broadcast match, so it possibly is unforgivable if we don’t scrutinise a decision as thoroughly and as clearly as what we should, having the bonus of the six different angles that we do have.
“So the pressure’s different, it’s maybe a bit more intense, but having the beauty of the six angles gives you the confidence that you’re going to get to the right outcome.”
While, of course, getting decisions correct should be applauded, there’s confusion as to why VAR can only intervene on certain occasions.
VAR can only do so when the referee on the park has made a clear error relating to a straight red card, a penalty area incident, or goals.
Give me a VAR-free Championship
I spend most weekend covering the thrills and spills of the Championship and Duncan Ferguson’s Caley Thistle.
No VAR, decisions debated, but far less so. Fans are not having to wait to cheer or be disheartened by goals. It’s pure live drama unfolding with no outside parties throwing doubt into the mix.
Referees and their officials can get on with the job they trained for and there’s no chance discussions over key decisions will last an eternity.
Football is meant to be entertaining. All too often, where VAR is involved, we are robbed of that chance.