THERE was a time when Scottish football couldn’t afford to have VAR. Now it cannot afford not to have it.

Initial fears over the system being too costly, too complicated and too controversial were well-founded, but the technology has moved on and our game must not be left behind.

The Scottish FA and SPFL will host a meeting of clubs at Hampden today with a view to introducing Video Assistant Referees for all men’s top-tier matches in the Premiership and latter rounds of cup competitions.

Howard Webb, the former World Cup final and Champions League final referee, will present to members on the evolution of the system since it was introduced into the Laws of the Game three years ago and SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell has already spoken enthusiastically about the potential implementation of VAR.

The governing body are prepared to underwrite the training costs for match officials and the Scottish Senior Referees’ Association – whose members Willie Collum, Bobby Madden and John Beaton are already part of the pool of VARs in use across Europe – are in favour its introduction.

It will, though, come down to the clubs to have their say and it is they who hold the most sway in a discussion that is hugely significant to the future of our game, both in terms of how it is perceived across the world and how it operates for those who live and breathe it.

Had Scotland attempted to lead the way with VAR in 2018, there is every chance that it would have turned into a farce. Now, though, the SFA and SPFL should be able to learn from the mistakes of others.

Critics of the system will point to the nit-picking nature of decisions over recent seasons and argue that the essence of the game has been lost as goals are chopped off for the most minor of indiscretions.

Those issues arose because of the rules that were being implemented, though. The laws were at fault, not the technology or those that were using it.

The devil, as always, will be in the detail and Scottish football cannot fall into the trap of having games decided by offside calls that come down to a hand or knee being millimetres ahead of a computer generated boundary.

Those in power at the National Stadium have a chance now to help refine the use of the system and to ensure that supporters understand it and don’t feel detached from the decision-making processes on matchday.

Goal line technology has been used in matches at Hampden since December last year and VAR would represent the next step forward in ensuring that more correct calls are made more of the time.

At the end of the day, that is what referees are striving for and what managers, players and supporters want to see. If it is open, fair and gets results, then it must be embraced.

It would, invariably and sadly, come with controversy. That is, after all, what Scottish football does best when it comes to refereeing decisions, but judgements made with the benefit of technology should, in time, ease the pressure on our whistlers and save them from the barrage of abuse and conspiracy theories that they are subjected to.

At a time when the SPFL is seeking to expand its reach and maximise its appeal, it would be baffling if they decide not to adopt a system that is here to stay and that will be the future of football across the world. It will not be perfect, but it would represent progress.

The game has changed and will continue to do so. This decision doesn't need a second look.