Pundits James McFadden and Shaun Maloney feel Celtic shouldn’t have been awarded a penalty following a VAR blunder against Greenock Morton.
The Lowdown: Cup upset avoided
Celtic’s rampant first-half display left them 4-0 up at the break, with the SPFL side flexing their muscles against the Scottish Championship outfit.
Goals from Aaron Mooy, David Turnbull and a double from Kyogo Furuhashi put the tie out of reach.
Mooy completed the scoring in the second half, but the Australian’s opening goal from the spot has caused controversy.
The Latest: Half-time analysis
Speaking during half-time of the tie for the BBC, both McFadden and Maloney were left shocked that a penalty was given, let alone referee Kevin Clancy being referred to the monitor by Craig Napier on VAR duty.
McFadden said (as quoted by Daily Record): “I think initially you are saying it’s goal-bound and it’s a good block. Then you look at it again and Craig Napier took two minutes and 15 seconds to tell that it was a penalty.
“It looks like Efe Ambrose is trying to block the shot with his foot and his hand is not in an unnatural position. It’s poor, and it’s such a big decision. For me, they have got it wrong.”
Meanwhile, Maloney expressed his own dismay: “The momentum of the game shifted with the penalty. I really don’t understand at this point when he has seen it [at the monitor] that he gives it.
“It has hit his teammate and rebounded and hit his arm when it’s behind him. I think it’s a really poor decision.
“The fact that he has been asked to go to VAR is a poor decision. I am normally very supportive, and I’m a big advocate of it [VAR].
“I try to remain as neutral as I can and I played here for a long time, but I just felt really, really sad for the Morton manager and players.”
The Verdict: Incorrect call
Despite Greenock Morton eventually ending up on the end of a thrashing, they will feel aggrieved by the way the game swung away from them.
The incident itself saw a strike from Liel Abada deflect up off Jack Baird’s foot as he attempted to block the shot before it pinged up onto the arm of Efe Ambrose, who had also closed down the Hoops forward.
With his arm out way behind his body, the decision was given, but we feel it’s a ridiculous call to award considering Ambrose made no attempt to use his arm and didn’t even move it closer to the ball, making it totally accidental. It had also deflected off his teammate first from such a close range that the 34-year-old couldn’t react.
It made a mockery of the situation with the Bhoys being set on their way from the decision, with Mooy leaving nothing to chance with the finish as he sent Brian Schwake the wrong way.