CELTIC right back Alistair Johnston has called for slow motion VAR replays of tackles to be scrapped in Scotland in the wake of the controversial red card his Parkhead team mate Yang Hyun-jun received last Sunday.

Johnston was surprised when referee Don Robertson upgraded the yellow he had shown Yang for a foul on Alex Cochrane of Hearts in the first half of a cinch Premiership game at Tynecastle after reviewing the incident on his pitchside monitor.

The Canadian internationalist felt that Robertson’s original decision was the correct one - even though an appeal against the sending off was dismissed by the SFA panel this week - and argued that how match officials use new technology in this country should be changed.  

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“In Scotland I think if there wasn’t VAR we would actually be better off in some instances,” he said. “I just think as a defender that whenever you freeze frame anything, whenever you go into slow motion, every tackle can look like a red card tackle. 

“It takes a lot of the context out of it. My solution to it would be to make it as simple as possible, would be to say you are not allowed to make slo-mos of any tackle. You have to watch it in real time. Because I find whenever you put a tackle into slo-mo everything looks worse than what it really is. 

The Herald: “That was my biggest gripe with the red card to Yang – the ref saw it in live time and didn’t really think there was any intent. And there was no intent. Of course, his foot was high and I agree that when you put your foot high you run the risk. 

“But I think everyone knew there was no intention there. He didn’t really catch him at all. I think then when you slow it down and freeze it then things can get taken out of context. 

“That was my biggest thing. On the pitch the ref thought it was a yellow, everyone on the pitch thought it was a yellow so move on with it. But then you go to VAR and from there anything can happen.” 

Johnston, who is set to start for Celtic in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup quarter-final against Livingston at Parkhead this afternoon, experienced VAR when he represented his national team at the World Cup in Qatar back in 2022 and did not have any issues with it.

The defender is convinced that making his suggested changes would help to quell the growing unhappiness there is in this country about the use of the new technology.

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“I think the decisions are just made at a quicker rate at the World Cup,” he said. “At that level they have got maybe a better understanding. There, an error that is worthy of going over to VAR is worthy.

“I find that sometimes when an error is taking two or three minutes to go over probably it is not such a glaring error that it needs to be called over. That is my thing. 

“At the very top level, things happen very quickly. The VAR knows if they need to go look at something they tell them right away. I find if they are not 100 per cent sure after a minute or two they just say, ‘You know what? The ref was right. There was not an error that needs to be atoned so play on’. 

“I think that is something we have struggled with a little bit here. It is still a new system for all of us, it has only been a couple of years now it has been implemented and it is going to take some growing pains, we understand that. 

The Herald: “It is not going to be perfect, but at the end of the day VAR is probably better in the long term. They always spout stats off to us about many more correct decisions they get from it. 

“As a defender I find offsides, things like that which are black and white very helpful. But when you are freeze framing every tackle things can be taken out of context and it can be frustrating.”

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Meanwhile, Johnston has revealed that he is still perplexed about the penalty which Hearts were awarded for a Tomoki Iwata handball just before half-time in Gorgie despite being right next to his team mate when the offence took place.

“I honestly do not know what happened there,” he said. “It just kind of felt like three of us went up for the ball. It felt like it hit everything and apparently one of the things it hit was an arm, or so it was judged.

“So, yeah, it was a freak accident and looking back on it even now I am not really sure what the pen is on. 

“He [Robertson] told me it wasn’t me, he told me it was on Tomo. But, again, Tomo did not know the pen was called on him until half time. I think that just goes to show it was just a weird freak accident. Not a single one of their players was even asking for it but that is football.  

“It happens you are going to have some of them that go for you and some go against you and you just need to move on from it.”