St Mirren ought to have gone in two-footed on VAR after a blatant error in Dingwall - after all, it would likely have been missed by officials anyway.

Instead, the club was understandably measured in response to discussions over the incorrect protocol applied to the handball flashpoint in the score draw with Ross County.

There is simply no escaping the fact that a major error in judgement took place as a handball from Ryan Leak was completely missed by referee Chris Graham and then blanked by VAR officials.

Granted, in real time it would have been difficult for whistler Graham to spot the handball infringement with the ball quickly hitting Leak on the head afterward. But for VAR to not even check, that is a serious blunder that could have severe ramifications.

Replays on Sky Sports clearly showed the ball strike Leak's hand while the defender was in a position which could only be justified as a natural position in volleyball. 

However, for top VAR official Greg Aitken - assisted by Jonathan Bell - to not only fail to recommend an on-field review but completely ignore the incident in a rushed check only considering a potential foul on James Bolton. Well, that beggars belief.

Even before official confirmation in a St Mirren statement on Thursday, it was clear there had been a mishap in the VAR booth.

Quickly it emerged the handball had not been considered despite an instant and unanimous verdict from pundits watching the match.

It was a monumental error and not the only one made this season with countless incidents impacting every club in one way or another.

For what it's worth, I have absolutely no doubt the VAR process mistake was purely that, an honest error. There is absolutely no suggestion of anything other than a genuine mistake from the officials involved and anyone suggesting otherwise must consider how easy it is to criticise compared with the undoubtedly difficult job of being a referee or VAR official.

The issue is, one mistake can make all the difference and that goes in both ways in a match like on Tuesday night.

Ross County are in the midst of a relegation scrap and a wrong decision - or missed incident - could prove pivotal in their battle for survival.

Similarly, the award - or not - of a penalty could be hugely influential for St Mirren with the race for Europe incredibly tight.

The one positive from the VAR shambles was the audio and footage being released to St Mirren for review and that in turn leading to an admission of error from the referee department. Transparency is so often at a premium in Scottish football and taking accountability quickly after a mistake is crucial.

It matters little in retrospect when a decision of such importance is missed and cannot be fixed but if things are ever to improve then accountability is key, and communication with clubs to iron out seemingly obvious issues must be constant.


It was just as well VAR took centre stage as St Mirren didn't do themselves much justice.

As Jordan White waltzed past Zach Hemming courtesy of a very rare Alex Gogic mistake it appeared all the good work this season was starting to unravel and be thrown by the wayside in a disastrous Highland Fling.

It was an off day for much of the squad and in years past it would have unquestionably have been defeat in Dingwall.

Fortunately, under Stephen Robinson the narrative is different and even on a horror night, a point was salvaged.

Toyosi Olusanya once again proved his worth with an excellently taken late leveller, perhaps throwing himself in the mix for a starting spot at the weekend.

While it was a pretty difficult night against Ross County, significant shoots of hope remain in the point gained from nowhere and a return to the squad for Mark O'Hara.

Conor McMenamin and Ryan Strain returning in the coming weeks will also be crucial in the realistic chances of a remarkable fourth-place finish this term.