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Celtic appeal against Yang Hyun-jun red and express ‘serious concerns’ to SFA

Yang Hyun-jun was sent off by Don Robertson (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Yang Hyun-jun was sent off by Don Robertson (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Celtic have appealed against Yang Hyun-jun’s red card and written to the Scottish Football Association with “serious concerns” over the standard of officiating during their 2-0 defeat by Hearts.

Yang was sent off following a VAR review after initially being booked for catching Alex Cochrane with a high boot.

Both sides had penalties awarded during the cinch Premiership encounter at Tynecastle on Sunday.

Celtic confirmed they would be appealing against the red card and added in a statement: “We have also written to the SFA to raise our serious concerns regarding the use of VAR and the decisions made within the match.

“As we have said before, for some time Celtic has sought to work with the footballing authorities with the aim of improving standards associated with refereeing and the use of VAR in Scotland, something which is clearly in the wider interests of everyone within the game.”

Kilmarnock have also appealed against the red card shown to Lewis Mayo for bringing down Dundee forward Scott Tiffoney.

Both appeals will be heard on Tuesday by a fast-track tribunal convened by the SFA.

Despite a dramatic weekend in the cinch Premiership when both Rangers and Celtic lost, match officials and VAR were the major talking point.

Hearts v Celtic
A VAR review led to a penalty for Hearts (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was one of several managers to vent his frustration towards match officials, whose representative body responded on Monday in response to criticism it feels is becoming “much more frequent, disproportionate, and personalised”.

Rodgers accused referee Don Robertson and video assistant John Beaton in particular of “really poor officiating”.

Rodgers felt Tomoki Iwata was harshly penalised for handball in the box following a VAR review, while Hearts did not feel they should have conceded an early penalty, which Adam Idah missed, after Yang went down following a collision with Cochrane.

Rodgers claimed Beaton’s VAR intervention on the red card was “incredible” and claimed the penalty decision was “worse”.

He added: “I try to respect decisions and give the benefit of the doubt, but when I see that level of incompetence, which is the only word I can use, then that makes me worry for the game.”

Hearts v Celtic
Brendan Rodgers could face disciplinary action (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Celtic manager could find himself facing SFA disciplinary action as rules forbid criticism of match officials in such a way as to “indicate bias or incompetence”.

Rangers boss Philippe Clement claimed Ross McCausland had been “kicked off the pitch” by Motherwell match-winner Dan Casey, who went unpunished for his challenge, while Aberdeen boss Neil Warnock labelled VAR a “disgrace” after his side conceded a late penalty against St Mirren.

Killie boss Derek McInnes could not understand why referee Colin Steven was not sent to the monitor to review Mayo’s red card.

“They get involved when they shouldn’t and don’t get involved where they should,” he added. “I am just scunnered with it.”

Former Celtic manager Neil Lennon and ex-Rangers boss Graeme Souness were both scathing in their criticism of Scotland’s match officials at a Viaplay media event on Monday.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with VAR, it’s the people that make the decisions,” said Lennon.

Souness said: “The referees are just not very good. VAR compounds the problem and shows them up.

“You get the chance to look at something time and time again and from different angles and you’re still making the wrong call. VAR is just embarrassing them.”

Rangers v Motherwell
Dan Casey’s challenge left Ross McCausland in pain (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The criticism drew a response from the Scottish Senior Football Referees’ Association, whose committee declared themselves “extremely disappointed and concerned by another weekend of targeted and personalised criticism of its members”.

A statement issued to the PA news agency added: “It has become too easy throughout the course of this season for managers and clubs to turn the focus – and resultant fan ire – on to match officials, often to deflect from team performance and results.

“We fully appreciate the importance of matches, especially now as we head into the defining period of the season for the destiny of the championship, European and top-six places, as well as relegation and play-off matters.

Hearts v Celtic (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Don Robertson had a busy afternoon at Tynecastle

“Nonetheless, match officials should be able to carry out their duties without fear of them impacting their personal lives, their personal safety and the safety and security of their families.

“It is regrettable that criticism, which we generally accept is a part of the game for players and coaches as well as referees, has become much more frequent, disproportionate, and personalised towards our members.

“Everyone involved in Scottish football has a responsibility to behave professionally and respectfully and to understand the consequences of their actions.”