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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Ewan Paton

Paul Lambert in Celtic penalty quip amid VAR drama at Ross County

Celtic hero Paul Lambert has joked that the penalty awarded to his former side at the weekend was a 'stonewaller'.

A spot kick was given after Cameron Carter-Vickers' header appeared to roll off Ross County defender Alex Iacovitti's arm just prior to half-time in the Premiership clash.

Willie Collum awarded the penalty after a VAR review.

Jota made no mistake as he stroked the ball straight down the middle to give Ange Postecoglou's side the lead. Alexandro Bernabei scored late in the second half to seal the 2-0 win in the Highlands.

While it was a comfortable afternoon for the Hoops against County, Collum's decision to point to the spot after the intervention of VAR has come under scrutiny.

Lambert appeared on BBC Sportscene last night, as he analysed the game alongside fellow pundit Michael Stewart.

Asked for his opinion, Lambert joked: "It's a stonewaller... No, I'm only kidding. I can see Malky's point, what's he meant to do there? Ange will look at it and say we deserve a bit of luck with the penalty, I get that. I see Malky's point of view being absolutely livid with it.

"What do you do? I think there would be a clash of heads there if the two arms weren't up. VAR looks at every incident and the referee has made the choice that he's going to give handball.

"I can understand the two managers; one being really happy and one being really angry."

Former Hearts midfielder Stewart concurred as he questioned the consistency of officials' decision-making in Scotland.

He said: "I can see why the referee has given it. Not so much the rules, it's so inconsistent. I just don't think they recognise and understand how football players play football.

"Iacovitti, for me, is just trying to get his arm to make contact with Cameron Carter-Vickers. As Paul said, if his arm's not there, then there's the danger of the two just clattering heads with each other.

"It's a natural movement from him to get his arm up there and make contact with Cameron Carter-Vickers. It clearly hits his arm, but for me, I don't think it's a penalty.

"There's a lot worse incidents than that which have been given as penalty kicks this season as well. And by the way, there are a lot worse incidents that haven't been given, and that's the problem. There's a complete lack of consistency.

"For me, I don't think it's deliberate. I think it's a natural movement from the defender to put his arm up and make contact with his opponent. The ball strikes his arm, it's a lottery. Heads it's a penalty, tails it's not."

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