Josh Campbell has say on VAR as Hibs midfielder relives post-Celtic debrief
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The 22-year-old possibly benefited from a lack of VAR in the first game of the season when there were claims that his last-gasp goal against St Johnstone had struck Rocky Bushiri’s hand on its way into the net. The same opponents make the trip down the M90 on Friday night for the first cinch Premiership match to be played with the new technology and Campbell is looking forward to what will be an historic occasion.
“I’m not really a fan of VAR to be honest with you,” he says, as he previews the match. “Certainly not when I'm watching football but I can understand why it’s getting brought into the game. It'll help the officials massively for those big decisions. Obviously you're maybe angry if it goes against you, but if it goes with you, you'll be over the moon.”
Hibs manager Lee Johnson has already spoken about how VAR will change coaches’ approach to football and the importance of using the technology in training to get the players used to it. But how will it affect teams on the pitch?
"There will always be debate. The wee things will get brought up when there are cameras everywhere, so you've just got to be that extra-bit cautious,” Campbell explains. "I think it will help the relationship between players and officials. Obviously there will be that timescale between decisions, but you just need to deal with it, it's the way the world is moving. I get on quite well with the referees anyway; I'm quite friendly, I call them by their name, they call me by my name. I feel we have a good relationship. You can get a few bits of banter – I'm not going to say some of the things that are said on the pitch! – but it's good.”
Campbell is hoping for a better outcome on Friday than Hibs experienced at Celtic Park last weekend. The 6-1 defeat prompted cancellation of the players’ day off on Sunday and a heated debrief in which the game was forensically analysed. Although uncomfortable, Campbell believes the benefits are priceless.
"It was an open conversation. We were meant to be off, but we came in and went through the game,” he recalls. “It's called a full-stop meeting. You go through that game and once it's done, it's put behind us and we move on. It was a good, solid meeting.
"A few players were disappointed as they had stuff planned, but the reality is that we had to get it done. It happens at every club. I'm still the young boy, so I keep my mouth shut and take it all in. There was a lot learned from the game. We went through the areas we need to work on and the areas we were quite good at, and there were some areas we were not so good at. It's good, because everyone can say how they feel about the situation. Not everyone's right and not everyone's wrong. It was good to have it out.”