I bet referees never thought they would be pining for the old days of trial by Sportscene, but here we are. Trial by VAR, and within seconds, social media, is highlighting their errors and stoking conspiracy theories far quicker and more effectively than big Thommo et al ever did.

The old saying goes that you know a referee has had a good game when you don’t notice them, and following the same principle, VAR and our officials – in fairness – had a quietish couple of weeks there. But they came barging back onto centre stage over the weekend in fine style.

From offside lines that looked as though they were drawn by someone with the DTs to controversial red cards and penalty calls that would have driven a few managers to drink, there wasn’t one top-flight match on Saturday that didn’t have a game-altering controversial incident.

READ MORE: Kettlewell discusses Rangers VAR & red card calls with SFA ref chief

First up, at Fir Park, both teams had complaints about offside calls that went against them, with Motherwell’s Max Johnston and then Rangers forward Fashion Sakala appearing offside to the naked eye for the first and fifth goals in the game respectively.

The home side in particular were dumbfounded that Todd Cantwell’s goal that put Rangers 3-2 ahead was allowed to stand after a VAR review, with the lines that were drawn on the pitch not only appearing to have been scrawled at an angle, but also appearing to place Sakala ahead of the Motherwell backline.

Fir Park manager Stuart Kettlewell said after the game that he stands to be corrected if his protestations can be proven to be without basis, but therein lies the rub.

While his opposite number Michael Beale said that they simply had to place their trust in the technology, the way it has been implemented thus far clearly hasn’t earned that trust. Certainly not with fans, who deride VAR for the negative impact it has had on the spectacle of the game due to lengthy delays, without noticeably helping officials to get more of the big calls correct to compensate.

At Celtic Park, the match ended with Hibernian chief executive Ben Kensell chasing referee Steven McLean down the tunnel and manager Lee Johnson calling for full-time officials. Their consternation came from the dismissal of Elie Youann, with the striker picking up a second yellow card after kicking Cameron Carter-Vickers in the face.

They argued that Carter-Vickers had his head down, and that Youann had attempted to play the ball, but the second caution was shown in any case. Hibs’ issue then wasn’t with VAR, which can’t intervene in such circumstances, but with the standard of officiating all round.

READ MORE: Jim Goodwin says Dundee United had points ‘snatched’ away by penalty

And that is the real nub of the issue. VAR is a problem, but it isn’t the only one. The one thing it has arguably done effectively is to highlight just how shallow the talent pool is among our top-flight officials, and if anything, it has served to confuse them further.

How else to explain why Craig Napier wasn’t asked to go and have a look at the penalty incident at Tannadice, when he awarded a spot-kick as Curtis Main tumbled after stealing in on the blind side of Loick Ayinya? In fairness to the referee, Main doesn’t help him by hitting the deck under little to no contact from the United defender, but surely that is precisely why VAR is there. If it isn’t used to help the official in such a situation, then why is it there at all?

It was a similar story at Rugby Park, where referee Chris Graham somehow missed St Johnstone defender Andy Considine slapping the ball in the box with his hand fully stretched above his head. Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes gave the official a hugely generous benefit of the doubt after the match by saying he may have been unsighted, but he was at a loss to explain why he wasn’t even asked to go over and look at the incident.

To round off the full sweep, Livingston goalkeeper Shamal George came charging out of his area to poleaxe Ross County striker Eamon Brophy at the Tony Macaroni Arena, with Willie Collum bafflingly awarding George the free-kick, presumably determining that Brophy had used his face to foul George on the elbow.

There can be a tendency in Scottish football to place too much focus on refereeing decisions. Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has commented on it in the past as an outsider coming in, and it is true that there is a disproportionate amount of the analysis around the game that centres upon officiating.

But when there are so many poor decisions over the course of a single weekend, it is no wonder that the men in black are dominating the conversation.

Whether full-time referees are the long-term answer, as Hibs suggest, is a great unknowable. There are still errors among the full-time contingent in England, don’t forget.

But the frequency of poor calls north of the border means that it is incumbent upon referee’s chief Crawford Allan to find some short-term solutions to the crisis in officiating we are seeing unfold before our eyes. And on our screens, even if the refs – for some reason - don’t always get that benefit.

During the international break, it might be a good time to at least refresh the referees on the implementation of VAR, when it should be used and when it should not.

Referees have been given the extra eyes they had long craved, but they have rarely looked to be fumbling around in the dark quite so much as they are now.