‘Human Error’ blamed as Camera Operator misses Jota’s ‘offside’ Celtic goal

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Earlier in the week, ahead of Celtic’s trip to Fir Park on Wednesday night, we discussed the Scottish Champions’ VAR woes after the new technology was introduced into the Scottish Premiership last month.

That match against Motherwell has escalated the controversy even further after a splendid goal by Celtic’s Portuguese winger Jota just after half-time, was flagged for offside and as you would expect a VAR review followed.

Now later in the second half of this game Motherwell scored and the VAR review that followed clearly proved beyond reasonable doubt that the goal should stand, the camera used was positioned in the same half as Celtic were defending and was thus in a perfect position to show that the goal was onside. Here’s the image for you to consider:

However going back to the goal scored by Jota, which you can view below, the VAR decision was much more controversial, to say the least. First though, please have a look at the goal…

The call is always going to be tight one and in the example of the Motherwell goal then we have seen how VAR can clear up these uncertainties and everyone can accept that the goal should stand. Have a look at the image that VAR released for the Jota goal, and please note that this is not a joke…

Yes, they are actually relying on the same camera that proved that the Motherwell goal scored later in the match was onside to ‘prove’ that Jota (top right) was offside, away up at the other side of the pitch.

You think I’m kidding, right? Celtic yesterday let it be known that they as a matter of urgency would like an explanation why this camera was used and why there was nothing shown taken at the other side of the park that would show, as in the Motherwell goal, that the goal was either on or offside.

As you would expect the Celtic support is up in arms about this, yet another VAR controversy to go against Celtic. On the day it was introduced Celtic conceded two penalties away to Hearts, had a perfectly good goal disallowed (the referee Nic Walsh whistled for a non existent free-kick before the ball hit the back of the net, VAR could find no foul but the whistle had already gone…) then moments after Hearts scored their second spot kick of the afternoon this happened…

Unfortunately for Celtic, neither Walsh or his VAR associate John Beaton decided that this hand-ball incident merited a penalty kick. Ange Postecoglou’s side still found a way to in the match 4-3, that’s why we are Champions.

Back to Fir Park and the latest controversy. After Celtic reached the Tipping Point on this shambles of an implementation, excuses started to seep out. Get this, and again this is not a wind up, the camera that should have been filming the incident involving Jota was at the time focused on filming the managers in the dug-out so missed the incident entirely.

Today the Scottish Daily Mail state that apparently it was simply ‘a human error’ stating: “QTV camera operator on the 18-yard line in the Motherwell end mistakenly failed to record the incident, resulting in a less-clear angle being shown instead,” this adding to the Scottish Sun revealing: “It’s also understood that the camera in the other half of the pitch – operated by broadcasters QTV – wasn’t focusing on the play at that time, and instead was trained at the dugout area.”

Yet despite all that, the VAR officials sitting 21.5 miles away from Motherwell at their base in Clydebank remain ‘certain’ that Jota was offside. Most commentators reckons he was on but they don’t know for certain. The Scottish FA have apparently decided to send a letter to the the camera operators about this shambles and Celtic incidentally are complaining about the inadequacies of the Mickey Mouse version of VAR that’s been introduced to the Scottish game, from a position of having won the match 2-1.

Celtic remain 7 points clear at the top of the league and tomorrow face Ross County at Celtic Park in the last match before the break for the World Cup. Hopefully VAR will not rear its incompetent, ugly head in this one because the version being used in Scottish football is simply not fit for purpose.

And this morning the Scottish FA have released a statement on the incident on their official website.

It reads: ‘Referee Operations can confirm that during a VAR review at Motherwell v Celtic, the footage from the relevant 18-yard line camera did not capture an appropriate view of the incident.

‘While the broadcast footage was only able to show a wider camera angle for viewers, Hawk-Eye technology is designed to calibrate an accurate offside decision from either of the two 18-yard line camera positions, with the subsequent VAR review determining that the Celtic player had received the ball in an offside position.

‘We have provided feedback to the host broadcaster on the incident as part of our regular review of the system operation.’


  1. The SFA statement says that their evidence shows that Jota was in an offside position when the ball was received. Not when the ball was played. Celtic should go back to them and ask for clarification on this because if that is the basis for VAR upholding the offside decision then it cannot be justifiably sustained.

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