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Sir Kenny Dalglish: VAR’s the right call for Scottish football but to bring it in halfway is bizarre

© Craig Foy / SNS GroupReferee Bobby Madden and John Lundstram and Aaron Ramsey during the Scottish Cup semi-final between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden
Referee Bobby Madden and John Lundstram and Aaron Ramsey during the Scottish Cup semi-final between Celtic and Rangers at Hampden

I’m delighted that VAR has been voted through by the 42 SPFL member clubs.

It’s something I’ve long championed as it will help our officials on a week-to-week basis.

But I’m a wee bit surprised that the clubs are having to cover the cost of it, which is over £1-million.

The Premiership sides will pick up the tab – based on a sliding scale depending on where you finish in the table – yet I would have thought that the SPFL and SFA would have footed the bill.

I’m also slightly taken aback that VAR will not be properly up and running until the second half of next season.

I know that our officials have been training for this eventuality for a number of weeks in the hope it would be given the green light.

So why do we need to wait until December or January to use it? Why can’t everything be ready for when the new season kicks off at the end of July?

The situation as it stands could lead to potential problems further down the line.

It’s far from ideal to be starting a season with one set or rules, and then having another in place midway through the campaign.

For example, a goal in a game next season – which was clearly offside – could stand. Then when a similar situation arises when the same teams meet later in the season, it could be overruled by VAR, and the goal chalked off.

To be honest, I find it bizarre.

However, we need to make the best of this situation and, at least, the game is moving in the right direction.

Scottish football badly needs VAR. The referees want it. Clubs and supporters want it.

John Beaton took a different approach in his semi-final to that of Bobby Madden (Pic: Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

VAR is not there to embarrass referees. It is there to help everyone reach the right decision.

But it is still vitally important that our officials are brave enough to call things as they see it.

They can’t be afraid to have an opinion on an incident as everything is not black and white.

I’m sure John Beaton and Bobby Madden would have liked to have had VAR last weekend in the Scottish Cup semi-finals.

John handled the Hearts-Hibs game, and he did well to show only one red card, to Easter Road midfielder, Joe Newell.

There were some tasty tackles, and it reminded me of how the game was played 40-odd years ago when everyone got stuck in.

The Celtic-Rangers game on Sunday wasn’t as fiery – but there was still controversy.

Bobby has been criticised for the way he handled the game, and I think some of the comments have been justified.

He wasn’t consistent enough, and should have been better. He allowed tackles to go unpunished that he had booked others for moments earlier.

But Rangers deserved to win, and it sets up a cracker of a Final on May 21 between the Gers and the Jambos.

However, there are many important games still to be played before that Hampden Park clash.

Rangers are in Germany this midweek to take on RB Leipzig. What a mouthwatering fixture that is. Leipzig are in good form – but they are not unbeatable.

Rangers showed a couple of months ago that they are a match for most German teams when they defeated Borussia Dortmund.

They played very well over the two legs, and Giovanni van Bronckhorst will be looking for the same again.

The club stands just 180 minutes away from the Europa League Final, and that would be a brilliant achievement.

The important thing is to try to keep it tight for the opening 25 minutes. Do not give the German side any encouragement.

That calmness will allow the attack-minded players to flourish, and that will hopefully allow them to penetrate the Leipzig backbone.

Kemar Roofe has been ruled out, so the attacking threat of Ryan Kent, Joe Aribo and Fashion Sakala will be even more important, but they have the ability to make life very difficult for their opponents.

Giovanni also has good options in Scott Arfield and Steve Davis. Both were brilliant when they came off the bench against Celtic last Sunday.

Scott scored a cracking equaliser, and Steve was superb in the middle of the park. They will have important roles to play on Thursday night.