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Rangers remain frustrated by silence following VAR incident in derby defeat

Nick Walsh gave no penalty which was confirmed by VAR (Jane Barlow/PA)
Nick Walsh gave no penalty which was confirmed by VAR (Jane Barlow/PA)

Rangers have confirmed the Scottish Football Association has so far failed to disclose the audio of the VAR penalty incident in the 2-1 defeat at Celtic on Saturday “despite repeated requests”.

Celtic defender Alistair Johnston appeared to handle the ball inside the penalty area in the first half of the cinch Premiership clash at Parkhead while under pressure from Rangers’ Abdallah Sima.

Referee Nick Walsh pointed for a goal kick and the decision was confirmed by VAR official Willie Collum following a check. However, it later emerged through Sky Sports – broadcasting the match live – that there had been an offside in the build-up.

After the game, a Rangers spokesperson confirmed the club would make a request to listen to the audio to help the club understand why no penalty was given and no VAR audio has still not been made available.

A Rangers spokesperson said: “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.

“Rangers officials stand ready to meet in-person or virtually with the Scottish FA at any time to hear 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.

Celtic v Rangers – Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
Willie Collum was on VAR duty for the Parkhead clash (Ian Rutherford/PA)

“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.”

The Scottish FA would not comment but it is understood Rangers chief executive officer James Bisgrove spoke with Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell on Sunday.