Ally McCoist was left fuming after what he called a “scandalous” decision by referee Georgi Kabakov in the Europa League clash between Rangers and Antwerp.
In fact, he thought that Kabakov got both big penalty decisions wrong in the first 45 minutes of the match, both going against Gers.
The game didn’t start off brilliantly for Rangers.
Several players were struggling – Scott Arfield and Kemar Roofe in particular – but Gers had an early penalty shout turned down when it looked like the ball had been clearly handled.
A Joe Aribo goal after 42 minutes looked like it would settle the nerves but, in a crazy couple of minutes, Antwerp took the lead.
First, Borna Barisic switched off and let Felipe Avenatti score with a header from a set-piece.
Then, the referee gave a really soft looking penalty as Lior Refaelov went down under minimal contact from Steven Davis.
VAR looked at it and failed to overturn the decision, and that left McCoist and Alan Hutton fuming in the BT Sport studio. (Thursday, 8.45pm).
“It’s a scandalous decision,” McCoist said. “I’m embarrassed for Refaelov going down there. But I’m even more embarrassed for the referee. Look at him, he’s watching it.
“You know the problem, we’ve got VAR, it’s just compounding the referee’s mistake.”
Hutton agreed saying, “That for me is a clear an obvious mistake. He’s hardly touched him. He feels a touch and just falls over.”
Asked about the first handball decision McCoist said, “Crazy decisions, I think he’s lucky. His arm is up in the air and he’s brought it down. Nine times out of 10 they’re given.
“Nowadays, it’s a penalty, simple as.”
Crazy night, crazy decisions
McCoist and Hutton have it absolutely spot on and it’s the reason why fans are so up in arms about VAR.
The Antwerp penalty looked soft in real-time. It looked absolutely nowhere near a penalty in the replays and we were convinced it was going to get overturned.
Instead, the penalty was confirmed almost straight away.
The fact that it happened after eight minutes of injury time when five had been signalled makes it even worse.
We’re used to decisions going against us, though, and attacked the second half with real purpose.
Justice was done when VAR told Kabakov to go over to the monitor in the second half and he awarded Rangers a penalty for a clear foul on Alfredo Morelos.
Tavernier was off the pitch and Borna Barisic stepped up to take the spot-kick. It wasn’t the best penalty but he marked his 100th Gers appearance with a goal.
It looked like there would only be one winner from that point and so it turned out, although there were a few crazy twists and turns before Barisic won it with a much better penalty late on.