Date: 18th January 2021 at 7:25pm
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Speaking exclusively to This is Futbol, former Premier League referee, Mark Halsey, discussed Cedric Itten’s controversial goal for Rangers in the club’s recent draw with Motherwell.

In the fixture, Motherwell looked to be on course to inflict Rangers’ first defeat of the Scottish Premiership season after they took the lead through Devante Cole in the first half.

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However, in the 72nd minute, Itten headed in Borna Barisic’s cross to ensure that Steven Gerrard’s side left Fir Park with a point, as well as maintaining the club’s unbeaten record in the Scottish top flight.

There was some controversy surrounding Itten’s finish, however, as replays appeared to show the Swiss forward occupying an offside position as Barisic crossed the ball for the 24-year-old’s equaliser.

“Obviously, there’s no VAR, so assistants are always told to give the benefit of the doubt to the attackers. And, in that situation, it is very, very tight,” Halsey told This is Futbol. “So, I don’t think you can blame the assistant in that situation because the movement is so quick, the ball is coming over, players stop, there are players running.

“I think, obviously, had VAR been in operation in Scotland, then that goal would have been ruled out. It’s no question, no question. So, it’s one of those. VAR would have come in and ruled it out, but at the same time, it was very, very tight and we go on about giving the benefit of doubt to the attackers, so we can’t have it both ways.”

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From Halsey’s comments, it would seem as if he believes that Itten was indeed in an offside position before he scored his equaliser and that, if VAR was in operation in Scotland, the goal would have been chalked off.

As such, Motherwell can feel extremely hard done by in only taking a point from the fixture, and also of losing the bragging rights of being the only side to defeat Steven Gerrard’s side in the league so far this term.

However, the former ref also suggests that, with people complaining about how closely offside decisions are scrutinised by VAR in the Premier League, perhaps Scottish football is actually better off without the intrusion of the video assisted referee.