Kemar Roofe’s goal against Celtic, which was ruled out by VAR, should have stood as the opener in the Old Firm game at Ibrox, says ex-Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher.
Roofe struck what appeared a legitimate opener 28 minutes into Saturday’s first Glasgow derby of the season, firing home a powerful finish after Cyriel Dessers outmuscled Celtic defender Gustaf Lagerbielke and teed him up.
On-field referee Don Robertson initially gave the goal but later overturned his own decision after being sent to the review monitor by VAR official Alan Muir, in what ex-Rangers forward Kris Boyd labelled a “shocking decision”.
Speaking on Monday’s edition of Ref Watch, Gallagher sympathised with the hosts, who went on to lose 1-0 to Kyogo Furuhashi’s winner in first-half injury-time which already leaves them four points off the top of the Scottish Premiership.
“The referee has got it absolutely correct on the pitch – it’s not a foul,” he said. “Dessers gets in front of him.
“All I can think is, when he gets to the screen, if he thinks he has pushed him. If the VAR hadn’t intervened no one would really have been complaining. It’s certainly not a foul with his feet.”
Former Liverpool and England defender Steven Warnock agreed, pointing to the reaction of Lagerbielke’s team-mates to his mistake.
“The goal should have stood,” he said. “One of the Celtic centre-backs reacts to it and goes ballistic at his team-mate for dwelling on the ball. You can read body language, players know what’s a foul and what isn’t.”
Sky Sports News understands Rangers will contact the Scottish FA for an explanation on why Roofe’s goal was ruled out.
Pundits split on Dessers VAR call
Kris Boyd: “It is a shocking decision. How that can be brought back for a foul is incredible. Lagerbielke is caught on the ball and Dessers wins it back. Don Robertson has to be stronger after being sent to the pitchside monitor.”
Neil Lennon: “I think Celtic are fortunate. But l think it’s a foul.”
James McFadden: “By the laws of the game, it’s a foul.”
Kenny Miller: “It is ridiculous if he gives a foul for that. That’s not a free-kick.”
Lagerbielke: It was a foul
Celtic defender Gustaf Lagerbielke told Sky Sports:
“I took it forward and took a few too many touches maybe, but then I got fouled by I think it was Dessers. Then they scored, but fortunately for us it was a foul, and I thought so too. I could be breathe out after that.
“I thought it shouldn’t count with VAR, but I’m happy it wasn’t a goal.”