VAR complaints and self-inflicted blows - how Monty saw Hibs loss

Hibs suffer heavy loss on tough night at Celtic Park

Nick Montgomery hopes Hibs eventually see their VAR luck turn around after another contentious call against the Hibees. But he says his own team take the blame for self-inflicted setbacks in their 4-1 loss to Celtic in Glasgow.

Monty knows his men were well beaten by “the best team in the competition” – but felt the home side had been helped along their way by a couple of gifted goals at either end of the first half, the Yorkshireman revealing: “I said to the boys at half-time, both the goals we gave away were really avoidable. We also had the two best chances of the first half, two one-on-ones and two big saves from Joe Hart.

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“On another day, maybe we score both and go in at 2-2. But I’m really disappointed with the manner of the goals we conceded.

“The first goal, it’s a corner that has landed in the six-yard box. We lose our players and it’s a bit fortunate, it sort of ricochets in. You don’t want to come away to Celtic and give away a real sloppy goal – but we did.

“The second goal is totally avoidable, just a cross from a deep area with two on two in the box. He just escapes his marker.

“They haven’t carved us open – and I don’t think they really carved us open at all in the first half. But we had two fantastic chances. On another day, one or both go in.”

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Two-nil down at the break, Hibs were broken for good when Lewis Stevenson was pinged by VAR Gavin Duncan for a clip on Alistair Johnston, referee John Beaton awarding a penalty after watching the incident on replay. The fact that it was checked at all annoyed Montgomery.

“Look, it’s one of them,” he said: “The player who actually went down didn’t even think it was a penalty. He didn’t think he got touched. He said that to the boys afterwards.

“Again, if we are going to go to VAR and look at every incident there are going to be a lot more free-kicks, a lot more yellow cards, a lot more penalties. Because when you slow everything down, there is always some sort of element where you can maybe change a decision.

“But he’s right at that moment, he’s not going to get the ball, it hasn’t affected where the ball is going to go, he is already falling down and Lewis Stevenson comes down the side of him not through the back of him. If he had gone through the back of him, no problem, give a penalty.

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“But, yeah, when you are talking about a crowd like this in big places when they all shout . . . Maybe I will get the Hibs fans to shout every time somebody goes down.

“Maybe we will get a penalty because we haven’t had one yet. But that wasn’t the reason we lost the game; I thought the ref was actually good tonight. That incident? Deliberating over whether there was a touch? That was disappointing.

“We started the second half quite brightly and, for me, it’s a soft penalty. I know the crowd shout for it and he goes to the VAR, watches it in slow motion, takes a bit of time.

“We’ve probably had five or six of those incidents in my time at the club – and we’ve never had a penalty. It never goes to VAR, they never go to look at it on the screen.”

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