WHEN the Rolling Stones sang about a 19th Nervous Breakdown one thing was for certain, they were not singing about Scottish football and the introduction of the notorious VAR system.

Scotland’s national game is always ­teetering on the brink of meltdown and has seen more emotional extremes than Mick Jagger could ever imagine.

Anyone who doubts football’s grip on ­reality should remind themselves of the emotional catatonia that surrounded Mo Johnson’s decision to sign for Rangers. Nineteen wouldn’t cover one season in Scotland, let alone the weft of history.

Last week began with football’s ­commentariat, getting into an excited ­lather about following two Scottish teams in the Nirvana-land of the Champions League, only to see both rinsed by much better teams.

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Despite the hype that greeted their first round of games, Celtic were thrashed by the mighty Real Madrid and Rangers returned from Amsterdam, humbled by Ajax.

Suddenly, the words “financial chasm”, a term largely banished from the domestic game as the Glasgow teams are cheered on, on radio and television was back in circulation. Now the “financial gulf” is being touted as the reason that they have not lived up to expectations.

Rangers manager Giovanni van ­Bronckhorst has even admitted that his team cannot hope to compete with the Champions League elite on their ­current budget. “Ajax sold some players for more than £200 million. Liverpool as well, van ­Bronckhorst told the media, “For us to compete with that, it’s too much to ask.”

The Aberdeen boss, Jim Goodwin was one among many who saw the irony. “I always find it funny when managers from either side of the Old Firm come out and talk about financial gulfs.”

Brazenly, too many people employed in the top tier of Scottish football feel able to make these comments irrespective of the local realities, or the financial crisis most fans are facing.

Football exists in a bubble of fantasy one that is rarely punctured by the needle of reality.

Behind the scenes, a different kind of meltdown has been gripping the senior administrators of Scottish football, as a new money-spinning television deal with Sky was endangered by Rangers refusing to co-operate with the terms of the deal.

But project forward a bit and all of these concerns will seem small fry when compared with meltdowns yet to come. A perfect storm is on the horizon and one that is guaranteed to separate toys from prams.

The Champions League is likely to ­result in more heavy defeats, an ­experience that neither Celtic, Rangers nor the bulk of their fans are accustomed to.

The forthcoming introduction of VAR into the Scottish game will soon be upon us and the much-previewed Video ­Assistant Referee system will bring a new dimension to disagreement and dispute.

VAR will come to Scottish league football after the Qatar World Cup finals in December and is also set to be introduced in the League Cup semi-finals and final in January and February of next year.

The system will see a minimum of six manned cameras at each game to aid a ­selection of video assistant referees who are all current or recently retired ­Category 1 officials.

Notwithstanding the sheer waste of money, many fans north of the Border are getting cold feet – having seen some of the impact of VAR in the top league in ­England – and are now turning against a technology system, which was well ­meaning in its development but is not ­living up to the rigorous complexities of the game.

Last week, John Nicholson of the ­online magazine Football 365, published a ­devastating take-down of VAR ­comparing it to Brexit and lambasting its legacy of false promises and unforeseen problems.

“We were sold a system that would work in a narrow and specific way, ­Nicholson wrote. “But, of course, it hasn’t delivered the brave new world promised and is ­little more than a bloke in a darkened room looking at a screen with line-drawing software.

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“The parallels with Brexit are ­irresistible, he continued. “We changed from a system that was certainly ­imperfect but largely worked well for many years and gave us many freedoms, to a system that made everything more difficult, more frustrating, more limiting and just plain worse.”

I HAVE always been of the view that VAR will be a costly delusion especially in Scotland. Its adherents claim it will usher in a new era of transparency and the promise of a better standard of refereeing. But like so much in football, it has already become ritualised with its own choreography, and lengthy deliberations until a final decision is eventually taken.

Ironically, VAR was set up to deal with “clear and obvious errors” but has ­already become distracted by arcane and narrowly judgmental issues.

English football has already seen the farce of a left shoulder being deemed ­offside and a debate about whether a ­player’s hair rendered his forward ­movement a breach of the rules.

Many fans, some of whom have ­shifted from being VAR advocates to pure ­sceptics, are asking a very simple ­question. If VAR is there to address “clear and ­obvious errors” why does it take up to four minutes to review, numerous camera angles to adjudicate, and in some cases the use of mathematical software to calculate lines of play?

The simple fact is that VAR has over-complicated the problems it was set to solve, it was an opportunity for an ­obvious human error to be rectified but it was never proposed as a system designed to micro-manage after the fact.

Nor is it good for the atmosphere at the grounds either. Many fans in ­England point to the dampening impact that VAR has on goal celebration, a ­collective roar followed by an anxious wait for ­confirmation or worse still pure bedlam snuffed out by a disallowed goal.

When VAR comes to Scotland there is every likelihood that many of the system’s crushingly obvious failings will travel north with it.

Scottish football is not normally a place of consensus and anyone who imagines VAR will resolve decades of entrenched suspicion of match officials probably ­believes that Paddington Bear eats ­marmalade sandwiches at half-time.

The naïve version of events is that VAR will bring controversy to an end, and that fans will accept hairline decisions, then skip to the pub hand-in-hand. Dream on.

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Scotland has its own unique dynamic when it comes to referees, a deeply held suspicion that refs are drawn from the ­establishment and come to matches with ingrained biases, enormously favouring the bigger clubs, some are visibly prone to be being more lenient on stars famous ­playersand tougher on the unknown ­journeyman.

And lest we forget, there is the ­belief in some quarters that referees are masons who indulge in strange secret ­rituals. This is what VAR faces and the idea that myths and prejudices built up over centuries will be eroded by an off-field TV playback ­system is the greatest fantasy of all.

Another prevalent myth rife in Scottish football is that referees are predominantly “homers” willing to give borderline decisions to the home team to curry favour with the majority support. There is not a shred of analytical data to back this up but it is such a settled myth in the minds of many football fans that VAR will struggle to be seen as a neutral technology.

VAR is coming unless the plugs are pulled and that seems highly unlikely and we can be certain of only one thing – that it will deeply disappoint and that disagreement will become even more ­deranged than ever before.