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Scottish Football Looks To Expand

This week in The Full Scottish we have plenty to moan about, including VAR (of course) as well as the poorly constructed plan for a fifth tier in Scottish Football

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With VAR, Time’s A’Wastin’ in Scotland

By Brian P. Dunleavy

We’ve made our opinions on VAR in Scottish Football known in this space already, and without the obscenities used by Celtic’s Green Brigade supporter’s group. And we’re well aware that criticism of the officiating “tool” is cliché at this point, and fully acknowledge that what we’re about to say has been said by countless others, many times before. But can we get on with it already?

It would be nice if the video review process had some clarity, and produced consistent decisions. However, given that humans remain involved, albeit assisted with technology, it’s doomed to be imperfect. Still, we could live with that if the review process passed quickly and efficiently, with minimal disruptions to the matches.

On Wednesday, the first half of Celtic’s match against Hearts at Celtic Park had 6 minutes—6 minutes!—of stoppage time. True, some of that was down to injuries, but there were two, lengthy VAR reviews as well, adding to the torture. As a result, players were left standing around, and supporters, those in the stands and those watching in the pub or at home, found themselves watching grass grow, essentially, for minutes at a time. For us, accuracy (such as it is) is hardly worth the tradeoff.

Fifth Tier For Scotland?

Speaking of bad deals, although we’re in favor of giving young players all the experiences they can get early in their careers, the SPFL’s plan to potentially add a fifth tier to the sport’s pyramid—the Conference League—primarily to house reserve sides seems wrong-headed from the off.

Because “B teams” for clubs such as Celtic and Rangers would not be able to earn promotion up to League 2, for obvious competitive reasons, adding the new tier would effectively downgrade clubs currently playing in the Highland and Lowland leagues by taking up possible spots, in perpetuity.

Mick Kennedy, manager of Darvel, the West of Scotland League side that stunned Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup earlier this season, tweeted: “Only in Scotland would league reconstruction to progress our game relegate over 200 clubs. Anyone who supports this should be ashamed.”

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