Rangers vs Kilmarnock VAR watch as bonkers start sees 2 penalty claims, one given and red card

Rangers were denied an early penalty shout
Rangers were denied an early penalty shout -Credit:Sky Sports

Has there ever been as many VAR controversies in the space of 20 minutes?

There was an absolutely bonkers start to today's clash between Rangers and Kilmarnock with delay after delay for a series of incidents. Gers had two penalty claims that didn't go their way and in amongst it all found themselves 1-0 down to a freak own goal from captain James Tavernier.

They finally got their spot kick but it was far from straightforward for the officiating team with a number of things to be checked before they could reach an outcome. Killie had to play the rest of the game with ten men with Joe Wright sent off for handball in the line. After all that, Tavernier proceeded to miss anyway with Will Dennis pulling off a top save.

The home side did put that behind them and went on to steal the lead through Fabio Silva, Ben Davies, Tom Lawrence and John Souttar for a comfortable win in the end. Here, Football Scotland pores over all of the VAR flashpoints.

Penalty snub

The penalty to Rangers conspiracists thought they were going to have something to get their teeth into minutes into this game.

Corrie Ndaba challenged for the ball against Dujon Sterling and there was definite contact on the ball with his arm. Referee David Dickinson was sent over to the monitor to have a look but stayed strong to avoid awarding a spot kick, likely deciding the defender's arm was not in an unnatural position when he went for the ball.

Second spot kick claim

Only moments later Cyriel Dessers hit the deck claiming for a penalty under the challenge of Joe Wright. There was a bit of confusion and it initially appeared Dickinson was going to point to the spot but then it became clear the Nigerian was in an offside position when Sterling nudged it through to him. The ball also ended up in the net amid all this but the ref had already blown his whistle. A quick VAR check found that offside was the correct call.

Tavernier own goal

There was a THIRD VAR delay in the opening 13 minutes and it came as Kilmarnock went 1-0 in front. James Tavernier was seriously unlucky as Matt Kennedy's attempted ball across the goal came off him and went in. There was a suspicion Kennedy may have been offside from Liam Polworth's cross came in but the check showed he was on and the goal stood.

Finally a penalty - and a red card

If you thought that was enough VAR drama you were sorely mistaken! Rangers had yet another spot kick claim midway through the first half and this time they finally got their wish. Fabio Silva came so close to opening the scoring when he got the ball past Will Dennis. Joe Wright was covering on the line but Sterling came in to challenge him, attempting to bundle the ball over the line but seeing it come back off the defender's arm on the line. The VAR first had to establish whether Silva was onside or not and the lines calibrated showed that Stuart Findlay was the deepest man and was indeed playing he forward on. Once that was the conclusion, Wright was in trouble and was flashed a red card by Dickinson who also pointed to the spot. Just to add to the craziness of the opening period of this game, Tavernier saw his effort SAVED by Dennis. Obviously there was ANOTHER VAR check to see if the goalkeeper has strayed off his line before it was struck but there was no issue with it.

What the pundits said

Kris Boyd: "The referee has had a shocker, he's made some bad decisions. The officials have had a shocker, they're meant to be working as a team.

"You can understand why the fans are frustrated, why everyone is frustrated. The inconsistency, you've got to be stronger.

"You don't want to speak down on people but you've got to ask yourself what level of referee is Steven Kirkland. Why is he officiating VAR? We've got full-time VAR referees, why are they not operating our machines?"

James McFadden: "Steven Kirkland has done David Dickinson absolutely no favours by not making a decision, taking so long to make a decision. Sending him to the monitor two minutes into the game, it set the tone and it's been stop-start since. It's not good enough."