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VAR convert Graham Alexander backs use of technology in Scottish football

Motherwell v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Fir Park
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander believes improvements in video refereeing make it an increasingly attractive prospect for Scottish football.

Well found themselves on the end of another controversial moment on Wednesday when Eamonn Brophy was allowed a second attempt to equalise from the spot for St Mirren following a disputed award by referee Bobby Madden.

Alexander still feels Madden was wrong to punish Sondre Solholm Johansen following a collision with Brophy, and television footage appeared to show goalkeeper Liam Kelly had one foot on the line when he was penalised by an assistant referee as the Saints striker hit his saved penalty.

Alexander has expressed frustration over a number of incidents in recent weeks, including an offside goal scored by Rangers striker Fashion Sakala during an Ibrox draw, a Boli Bolingoli handball that did not lead to a penalty against Celtic, and two spot-kicks awarded to Hearts.

Alexander was initially a VAR sceptic but his opinion has changed if it is “managed properly”.

“The first year of VAR was very difficult, it was too long and slow, and the millimetres they were cutting down the offsides to was unnecessary,” he said.

“I think they have understood that over the summer and it’s now a better product and actually helped some big decisions in English football.

“So if that can be brought here and help the game be fair, and less mistakes, then I think that’s a good thing.

“I was a sceptic about it when it was first talked about and when I saw the first year of it I didn’t really see its value. But since then, watching how it’s worked, it has cleared up some big decisions and helped the officials. But I think they should be part of the conversation as well because it’s their jobs.”

Alexander had to stop himself giving his true feelings when interviewed after Wednesday’s 2-2 draw, but did reveal he thought the penalty award was one of the worst decisions he had seen.

The Motherwell boss was keen to move on from the flashpoint as he previewed Sunday’s visit of Rangers

“I don’t think it was a penalty but I got up this morning and I am focusing on the next game,” the former Scotland international said.

“Emotions run high immediately after a game. We all have a real tough job in football – managers, coaches, players and officials.

“It’s given me time to reflect overnight and, listen, we know the officials have instant decisions to make. It’s extremely tough but we understand where they come from.

“We all make mistakes, all of us. If you ask the officials if we made mistakes last night, they will say we did. That’s the game. We will focus on our game-plan, what we can do better.”

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