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Daily Record
Daily Record
Michael Gannon

Malky Mackay slams 'robotic' refereeing as bemused Ross County boss demands more VAR common sense

Malky Mackay reckons Scottish VAR techies are acting like robots.

The Ross County boss is hoping for a more human touch in the final weeks fo the season with his side in the thick of the fight for safety in the Premiership. Mackay’s men were hit with another controversial VAR call in their 3-1 win at Dundee United when the cameras picked up a marginal handball by Staggies man Josh Sims.

The spot-kick didn’t deny County a win but Mackay said: “You can’t jump without moving your arms. I spoke to SFA ref chief Crawford Allan earlier in the season concerning the Alex Iacovitti penalty against Celtic and they were saying, rightly, it’s the rule that’s causing the issue. I think the bar in Scotland for common sense is way lower than in England right now. There is common sense with other rules. For example, there is a rule that the goalkeeper should only have the ball in his hands for seven seconds.

“That rule doesn’t get adhered to and keepers are able to waste time for 15-20 seconds with no foul given against them, but rightly so. It’s common sense. So I don’t want to just hear, ‘It’s the rule’.

“There’s got to be a common sense attached to it. What it is that someone is trying to do? Are they trying to do something? The ball is fired right at our guy.

“I’m not saying the penalty awarded to Dundee United was or wasn’t a penalty. But overall there are times when no players are claiming for something and referees are talking to their VAR official and it ends up being refereeing by robotics.”

Mackay insists his side are embracing the relegation fight having got a hug after their Hearts hammering The Staggies boss refused to read the riot act after his men were on the end of the 6-1 thumping at Tynecastle last month. Mackay gave his players a cuddle inside – and they have bounced back with wins over Livingston and Dundee United to lift themselves off the foot of the table.

He said: “It was an awful evening at Tynecastle. It was the worst performance of the year by a million miles.

“We had a two-week break and when we got back in it was time to give them a cuddle and relax and lick our wounds and get back into it. It wasn’t a time for me to react and go mad at them or go in the huff.

“It was time for us all to take a breath going into the last five games. I’ve been here before unfortunately and it’s about staying calm and having a calm training ground. I want my confidence to rub off on the players. That’s a big thing.

“I need to walk in and be in a confident mood and wanting to talk to everyone and the training ground relaxes and the week becomes as normal. Going into the Livingston game there was a lot of pressure on us and a lot of people looking to see how we’d react but they reacted in a really positive way.

“We go to Motherwell now and it will be tough because they’re in a great run of form. But we’re looking forward to going there. But we’re not thinking any further ahead than that. We need to make sure we look after ourselves in these next three games.”


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