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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Matthew Lindsay

Scotland playmaker Ryan Christie calls for 'clear and obvious' VAR clarity from UEFA

RYAN Christie has called for UEFA to clear up the confusion over VAR decisions in the wake of the Scott McTominay goal that was controversially disallowed in Scotland’s defeat to Spain in Seville.

National team playmaker Christie was stunned when Dutch referee Serbar Gozubuyuk chose to chalk off a sensational McTominay free kick in the second half of the Euro 2024 qualifier in La Cartuja.

He revealed the match official had claimed that centre half Jack Hendry had fouled goalkeeper Unai Simon – and then changed his mind and stated that the defender had been offside.

The Bournemouth midfielder would like European football’s governing body to provide clarity on how the new technology is used amid growing unhappiness throughout the game.

“It’s so frustrating,” he said. “We’d come what we came here to do, we were at our best as we got into the second half. I felt they were running out of ideas.

“Then we got the Scott McTominay’s goal that turns out not to be a goal. It was tough to take. I didn’t even know there was the possibility of a VAR check. I’m off celebrating, Scott’s off celebrating, everybody’s off celebrating.

“Then the ref’s telling everyone on the pitch that it’s for a push, then when we go to see him afterwards he’s saying it’s offside. But if it’s offside then he doesn’t have to go to the monitor, does he?

“So, that’s the main problem here, there’s no clarity. If no one in the stadium knows what the decision’s been given for, then it can’t be clear and obvious. We keep hearing from everyone that these things have to be clear and obvious.”

The National: Christie added: “I’ve seen it back from a few angles. From the match angle, which I’m guessing they have on VAR, it looks like Jack pushes him a little bit. Then you see an angle from behind the goal and he hardly touches him. In any case, the goalkeeper’s already moving to cover his front post.

“I’m not sure if VAR had that angle. This is what really gets to us players, it just leads to more questions and doubt when what we need is certainty and clarity. I think we should have VAR for decisions that are yes or no.

“If you can draw a line I can accept that. But when it all hangs on someone else’s opinion, we’re never going to get to the end of it. All we know is that at 1-0, we’d have been in a great position to go on and get the result.”

Christie felt that Scotland, who are still in top spot in Group A with two games remaining against Georgia away and Norway at home, deserved to take at least a point from the match in La Cartuja.

“We knew it was going to be tough, especially the position they are in,” he said. "They had one off the post and a few chances and it felt like a long night. But in the second half I personally felt that we had them here. They were running out of ideas a little bit and that’s the incredibly frustrating thing. 

 “It’s an incredible cross by (Jesus) Navas and a great header by (Alvaro) Morata. It is so frustrating, but we move on and have the game on Tuesday which will be good. And then we have two massive games (Euro 2024 qualifiers against Georgia and Norway) next month as well.”

Steve Clarke’s side will qualify for the Euro 2024 finals in Germany without kicking a ball if Spain draw or beat Norway away on Sunday and Christie admitted that he will be cheering on Luis de la Fuente’s men.  

“Absolutely I will,” he said. “Listen, we wanted to come here and do it ourselves. Everyone was desperate because we are so close and we wanted to get over the finishing line. 

“We wanted to do it ourselves and what a place it would have been to do it. But it wasn’t to be and it’s out of our hands for Sunday. More importantly we have two massive chances to do it in November and we’re looking forward to that.’ 

Christie has already turned his attentions to the friendly international against France in Lille on Tuesday night and he feels that run out will be hugely beneficial for Scotland.  

“Listen, it’s frustrating,” he said. “In the next couple of days we will be very frustrated. It’s a bit of a ‘what if?’ But we need to put it behind us and we will be ready Tuesday and more importantly next month for a massive camp. 

“Everybody is going to talk about this game on Sunday, but everyone in our camp wants to finish this group as strong as we possibly can. France is another tough game, but it’s an exciting one. We want to challenge ourselves against the best and take positive results from these games. 

“The more we do that the more we keep improving and going into the higher pots. We want to be a team in and about these massive teams.”

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