St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin is calling for better refereeing and VAR in Scottish football after a penalty decision in the Buddies match with Celtic on Wednesday.
Greg Taylor went down in the box under minimal contact from Saints midfielder Ryan Flynn and a penalty was awarded. Odsonne Edouard scored the kick to make it 2-0 with 11 minutes to go, Celtic going on to win 4-0.
Goodwin has been disappointed with recent penalty calls across the game as the St Mirren manager asks for refereeing assistance: “The penalty was disappointing. I came in for stick a few weeks ago as I talked about certain teams not getting penalty situations given against them and some teams getting quite a number of penalties.
“I can only say what I see at the time and that penalty we conceded against Celtic was really soft. Ryan Flynn touches Greg Taylor’s shoulder and pulls away very quickly. Greg Taylor’s legs just fold from underneath him. I can’t understand how a player just falls over once somebody touches their shoulder. It was the same against Hibs a few weeks ago.
“Certain individuals are very clever. Not every bit of contact in the penalty area is a penalty. If the referees can’t get these big decisions right, then they probably do need to look at VAR, because quite clearly the referees need assistance.”
Goodwin also has fears that the game may end up like basketball in years to come, should penalties continue to be awarded for little: “Hibs got another penalty against Aberdeen and it was minimal contact.
“But that is the way the game is going, not just here in Scotland. The benefit they have in England is VAR but I think the game is taking a turn for the worse if we are giving penalties for slight contact. That penalty had a really big impact on the game as the pressure was off Celtic and it gave us a mountain to climb.
“We had a soft penalty given to us against Motherwell but I would rather we, or anybody else, didn’t get them. It’s a really tough time to be a defender. You are seeing players running alongside defenders and at the first point of contact, falling over themselves. I would be embarrassed if I was one of these players. I’d be cringing.
“Everybody in the game has to take responsibility for it. It’s similar individuals who seem to be winning these penalties all the time and refs have to wisen up to it. They are having the wool pulled over the eyes in certain situations.
“I think we have to start naming and shaming. The compliance officer needs to get involved more and suspensions have to be handed out to these individuals. It has to be consistent too. The game is becoming a non-contact sport and we are going to be like basketball in 10 years time.”
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