RANGERS great John Brown last night urged Aberdeen manager Barry Robson to stop putting unnecessary pressure on referees and concentrate on showing his players how to defend properly instead - and then admitted he is an advocate of VAR.

Brown was amused when he heard Robson accusing Ibrox centre half Connor Goldson of making the most of a Stefan Gartenmann pull to win a penalty in the final minute of the cinch Premiership match at Pittodrie on Sunday afternoon.

He worked with the former midfielder during his time as a youth coach in Govan back in the 1990s and recalled how the youngster was not averse to diving in the opposition box in an attempt to earn a spot kick at an early age.

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“Barry Robson was a youth player that I had,” said Brown. “He had a way of just falling over without any contact. To criticise a referee? It’s a hard enough job for referees now, especially with VAR. You need to give them a bit of space.” 

But the Nine-In-A-Row defender was also disappointed when his former pupil criticised match official Nick Walsh for giving Philippe Clement’s side a penalty after being urged to look at his pitchside monitor by his Clydesdale House colleague Andrew Dallas.

“When I can see a jersey getting pulled in the box, that’s a penalty kick,” he said. “There is no other way.  He (Robson) needs to sort his players out and tell them they can block a run or get up against a man in the box, but they can’t pull a jersey. You can’t have that type of contact. 

“Is it taking the pressure off of him? There’s a discipline from him to go to his players and say, ‘Block the run, but don’t pull the jersey because it will be a penalty kick’. For me, it’s a penalty. He knows he’s got a cup final coming up and he thinks if he can get that out there, they maybe get a decision or Rangers maybe don’t get a decision. But if it’s a clear tug of the jersey it’s a penalty kick.”

The Herald: Former Rangers chairman David Holmes, right, with club great John Brown at Ibrox yesterday as heRobson, whose team were denied a much-needed victory against Rangers when James Tavernier scored an injury-time penalty, stated that the Ibrox club being awarded another late spot kick “didn’t look good” for Scottish football.

However, Brown, who won every honour in the game in this country during the nine years that he spent as a player in Govan, argued there is a reason that both Glasgow clubs get handed the chance to net from 12 yards.

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“Rangers and Celtic get decisions because they will dominate the ball for large periods and have maybe 20 or 30 efforts at goal,” he said at the launch of One Voice, the book former Rangers chairman David Holmes has written about his time at Ibrox in the 1980s.

“They’re in the box. Defenders are going to make mistakes and the team with all the pressure will get penalty kicks. Look at Haaland and Man City. How many penalty kicks do they get? 

“The better teams in Scotland are Rangers and Celtic. They dominate the ball, get opportunities in the box and there’s going to be more decisions coming their way. Aberdeen have four or five shots at goal, are hardly in the box and mainly hit on the counter. They’re not going to get many opportunities for penalties.”

The Herald: Brown had a reputation for being a hard man who never shirked a challenge during his time as a player – but he confessed that he was in favour of VAR and wanted to see referees given more time to get to grips with the new technology.  

“I’d probably kick VAR if I played today!” he said. “I’d take a yellow for that.  But I think VAR is okay. There’s too much getting made of these VAR issues. It’s fine. It’s the guys in the control room that need to understand it. 

“It’s just about who makes decisions and what’s a penalty or not. The rules have changed, particularly with offside. Go back to the way it was, there was nothing wrong. You wonder what they want to achieve there. 

“But if you’ve got the right people running VAR it should be pretty straightforward. I remember speaking to Hugh Dallas a couple of years ago and his comment to me was that officials don’t know how to work VAR. 

“He said they hadn’t been trained. It was like they were going through a manual with it.  Maybe if you the advice of a referee who was well respected in Europe and in Scotland, too, maybe that would help. It’s not just in Scotland, you see it down south too. There are so many camera angles, it’s a hell of a pressure for referees. I feel for them actually. For once!”

One Voice: The Inside Story of the Rangers Revolution by David Holmes with Stephen Halliday is available to buy now from www.onevoicebook.co.uk