'VAR should have given us a penalty as well' - Hibs boss frustrated after Celtic loss

Hoops get two big calls as home side left empty-handed
Montgomery and ref Nick Walsh at full-time.Montgomery and ref Nick Walsh at full-time.
Montgomery and ref Nick Walsh at full-time.

Hibs boss Nick Montgomery was left railing against the inconsistencies of VAR after referee Nick Walsh handed Celtic the chance to inflict late heartache on the home side at Easter Road. The Yorkshireman, speaking after two Hoops penalties had consigned his team to a 2-1 defeat, believes the hosts should have been awarded a spot kick of their own for a foul on Martin Boyle. And he said no-one in the stadium was even appealing for the foul on Kyogo Furuhashi that saw the visitors awarded a second penalty in the 90th minute.

Montgomery, proud that his players had shown fight and spirit after Saturday’s woeful 3-0 hammering by St Mirren, said: “To lose it as we did, there were plenty of incidents where the ref could have gone over to the VAR. I think we should have had a penalty on Martin Boyle.

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“I watch plenty of incidents and watching it back in slow motion he gets caught from behind on his quad and he has a dead leg. He is limping around in there. They are sore ones.

“It’s irrelevant how he goes down. He has been caught from behind and that has knocked him off balance and whether he goes down on one leg, two legs or headfirst, if that is seen by VAR and the ref looks at it, he has no option to give the penalty. I also think there’s a foul on Lewis Miller where, if he goes across to the VAR, it’s possibly a different colour card."

On the Celtic penalties, Montgomery said: “Watching them back, this is my honest opinion, the first penalty Nectar (Triantis) is committed and has gone to win the header. There’s no malice in it whatsoever. It’s two boys going to win a header.

“If that happens anywhere else on the field, the game stops, the players get treatment – and it’s maybe a drop ball. But I haven’t watched that one back closely.

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“The second one, I’ve watched it once. Maybe it’s outside of the box, Joe Newell pulls out … I just think that not one person in the stadium thought about asking for a penalty. But somebody has called the ref to have a look on VAR.

“That’s the most frustrating thing, because if the ref had been called over a couple of other times, especially the Martin Boyle challenge, he would have had no option to give a penalty. It’s inconsistent.

“I know it’s not easy. It’s a tough gig. But to lose it like that, on that moment, when we were the team who looked more likely to win the game, it just rubs salt in the wound.

“My understanding is that incidents like that are reviewed. If they think it’s worthy of the referee having a look, he’ll have a look and make his own decision.

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“We’ve had so many incidents this season where we’ve looked back on the video, knowing that if the ref had been called, we would have had a penalty. But you don’t want the game stopped every time for every little incident in the box.

“That’s not what it’s there for. It’s there for big moments, where maybe the ref misses it. But it has to be consistent for both teams.”

Boyle was booked for diving in the incident that might have given Hibs a chance to go 2-1 ahead from the penalty spot, Montgomery bristling when asked if the winger’s reputation had counted against him, as he insisted: “I am not going to answer that question. It is a penalty.

“If you are very quick and someone catches you it is easier to go down off balance.  I remember the game when we beat Kilmarnock and he was whacked from behind and he carried on stumbling, and we carried on and scored the goal.

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“Martin is not someone who goes down. He is very quick. When he gets contact it is very hard to stay on your feet. I can’t agree with you. 

“It was a real disappointing way to lose the game. I thought we were more than worthy of three points tonight.”