Hibs star believes refs would welcome goal-line technology
Darren McGregor has insisted match officials would welcome goal-line technology as it would save them from being made to look fools when they get big decisions wrong.
The Hibs defender believes it would only have taken a split-second for derby referee Steven McLean to have been notified that Oli Shaw’s seventh-minute strike against Hearts had crossed the line rather than rely on the judgment of his assistant Sean Carr who ruled it had not.
Television backed up the immediate thought that 19-year-old Shaw had put the Easter Road side ahead but, instead, Neil Lennon’s players were forced to settle for a scoreless draw at Tynecastle on Wednesday night although they did stretch their unbeaten record against their closest rivals to nine matches.
McGregor, who was playing in his 100th game for Hibs, revealed McLean later conceded Carr had missed the decisive moment, but told him: “We can’t change it now.”
The 32-year-old accepted there had been a genuine mistake but was adamant the technology exists to avoid moments which Lennon insisted were “making a mockery of the game”.
He said: “I spoke to the ref midway through the second half and said it was obviously a poor decision and he held his hands up and said ‘we can’t change it now’. I respect that. At least he is giving his opinion. He did say at the time the lino [the assistant ref] had missed it.
“I am sure he never meant to intentionally see the ball go over the line and then not give it. He missed it. What can you do? What can the ref do in that instance? That was basically what he was saying ‘what can I do?’ I respect Steve, He is a great referee, he sees it as it is. What can I say to it? The lino missed it, he has made a mistake, you move on.”
McGregor, however, believes it’s time the SFA and SPFL should address an issue which was raised by then Hibs manager Pat Fenlon in early 2013 when Leigh Griffiths similarly had a goal chalked off in what turned out to be another goalless draw with Hearts.
Pointing out how referees in England have a watch which buzzes if the ball crosses the line and the fact rugby has embraced television replays, he said: “It begs the question why is there not some form of technology to clarify, to have a wee break and check it? That would definitely have helped us in this situation.
“I’m a great believer in sometimes they go for you and sometimes they go against you. If the powers that be want to change it, great, if not I just hope we get a bit of luck later in the season.
“You would think it would be easy to install and maybe to get the ref to wear a watch. In circumstances like that you are only talking about a split-second and you avoid a situation like this.
“People do make mistakes. We make mistakes, they make mistakes but what would be the hindrance in not having it? I’m sure it would make their job easier. Is it a financial thing? I’m not sure. You need to ask them but it would suit all parties. It would suit us because it gives us clarity and it would make their job a lot easier because they would not be getting it in the neck from the gaffer at half-time and full-time.
“Hopefully it is something the powers that be agree after watching that. It is something they could install and make decisions easier.”
McGregor won’t get his wish any time soon, however, as both the Scottish FA and SPFL insisted following the Shaw incident that, while both support the use of technology, the cost is prohibitive.
An SFA spokesman said: “We are open to any technology that would help deliver a matter of fact. Goal-line technology – like Video Assistant Referee (VAR) – has been proven to aid match officials in the decision-making process. However, the blunt reality is that the technology remains unaffordable to all but a few leagues as things stand, not to mention the likely cost some clubs would face in adapting their existing facilities to accommodate it.”
The SPFL echoed that view, a spokesman stating: “Goal-line technology remains unaffordable. It would cost millions to install at all Scottish Premiership grounds.”
• Hibs’ Premiership clash against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday, February 24, has been switched to a 12.30pm kick-off for live coverage on Sky Sports.