9 Celtic vs Rangers referee calls rated as Nick Walsh goes card crazy and NO GOAL not the only debate

This might have been Nick Walsh’s second Scottish Cup Final. But in so many ways it must have felt like the first.

In his showpiece debut in 2021 St Johnstone clinched a stunning double against Hibs but Hampden was empty due to Covid. Compare that to the thunderous Old Firm atmosphere. Twelve cards, a goal chalked off for VAR and penalty shout waved away and no end of ear bashings from both sides.

Early on he kept it cool and resisted going to his pocket. But you knew it was just waiting to take off, and it arrived in the 23rd minute. Greg Taylor’s cross was flicked on by Kyogo Furuhashi and brushed off Ben Davies’ right hand. Celtic fans screamed ‘penalty’. VAR, you’d like to think, took a look. Whatever the process Walsh decided no penalty.

It was Rangers fans up in arms 12 minutes later when Reo Hatate went through the back of Todd Cantwell. It looked a bad one but Walsh resisted reaching for the yellow.

The first booking arrived bang on 40 minutes as Callum McGregor hauled down Cantwell as he broke free. A simple decision. But another flashpoint arrived shortly after when Dujon Sterling looked to be pushed by Liam Scales. Walsh played on, VAR refused to get involved. While replays showed it was just outside the box, it looked a foul.

Abdallah Sima was a lucky boy after kicking out twice at Alistair Johnston after a coming together. The second booking of the day arrived. It could have been red. Four minutes later Rangers fans were off their seats as Sima was barged over by Scales.

It was getting feisty and when Rangers netted in 59 minutes all hell broke loose. Hart missed James Tavernier’s inswinging corner and Sima struck at the back post. But VAR spotted a two-handed push on Hart by Nico Raskin and Walsh said ‘no goal’.

Dujon Sterling went into the book for a tackle on Greg Taylor then James Forrest catching Raskin late.

Adam Idah, Taylor, Cantwell took the cards to eight. Nicolas Kuhn and Ridvan Yilmaz, Paulo Bernardo and Daizen Maeda picked up late bookings but thankfully the red card stayed in Walsh’s pocket.