Former Hearts and Scotland boss Craig Levein has warned Rangers and Celtic that VAR might be “not so good” for them as he launched into a paranoid rant about referees.
Levein, who has been out of football since leaving Hearts a few years ago, thinks the “crowd noise and intimidation” has gifted the Old Firm “more than their share” of decisions over the years.
With VAR set to be introduced later this year in the Scottish Premiership, Levein claimed that the pressure at Ibrox and Celtic Park means referees are swayed in their decision-making.
“This is probably controversial. I think it’s a great thing for Scottish football but maybe not so good for the Old Firm,” Levein said [BBC].
“In my time in Scottish football, I’ve been involved in matches where I feel the Old Firm have been given more than their share of decisions, based on crowd noise and intimidation.
“Referees are human beings, and if you come under pressure like you do at those two grounds, then it’s in human nature that you’re more likely to do the thing that calms everything down.
“And that’s give a 50/50 decision to one of those teams.”
Rangers and Celtic VAR and referee claims the sort of garbage that hinders Scottish football
While nobody can say with a straight face that referees in Scotland are up to much, the idea that they are only influenced by crowds at two of the 42 SPFL clubs but not the rest is utterly laughable.
Nobody can ever explain why 50,000 Rangers fans calling for a decision will force a ref to ‘calm everything down’ but why having nearly 20,000 at Tynecastle or Pittodrie doesn’t have the same effect.
If the home support influences the referee, you’d think that would be repeated at grounds around the country – certainly in 12 Premiership grounds.
However, nobody ever suggests the Hearts fans put pressure on officials at Tynecastle (they do) and nobody suggests that Aberdeen fans at Pittodrie don’t put the referee under pressure (they also do).
Levein also seemed to miss out that he regularly complained about officials in games not involving either Rangers or Celtic so it just doesn’t make any sense that VAR will hurt Rangers or Celtic.
The former Scotland boss also doesn’t explain how the same doesn’t carry through to the Scotland national team who, particularly under his stewardship, toiled against even the most ordinary of opposition at Hampden – which has a near-identical capacity to Ibrox.
Still, the tinfoil hat nonsense Levein was spouting will do him well in getting invited back onto Sportsound where faux-outrage and fabricated controversy is the order of the day.