Today John Beaton turned in a refereeing display at Ibrox that was one of two things; it was either cheating or it was incompetence of a truly mind-bending sort. Listen, there is no dubiety here whatsoever; it was one of these things or it was the other.
People can throw up all the smokescreens they want here, but one of those explains what happened today and there are no other possibilities.
His performance was disgraceful.
It was either biased or it was just deplorably inept. Either way, he ought not to referee a top game again in Scotland this season, and when this campaign comes to an end he has to be either demoted until he understands the rules or drummed out of the SFA’s pool of officials completely. That was farcical today.
This does not offer an alibi to Hamilton for the scale of their defeat; they were dreadful and deserved to be on the end of that beating. They offered nothing of note in the match; it was a gutless display that got its just reward.
Would they have made a better fist of it had Sevco’s goalkeeper been deservedly sent off for handling the ball outside the box? I’m not sure they would; they were awful. Would they have got something had Toral not gone down in the box in such a scandalous manner? I don’t think so. Would they have put up a fight had Joe Garner not enacted a near-perfect move right out of Mixed Martial Arts? Well at that point they were already 2-0 down.
Sevco were more direct, they were more threatening and they deserved to win; bottom line. The refs impact on the game was not as pronounced as those decisions suggest. Had it been tight, had Hamilton threatened at any point, I might be singing a different song.
But for all that, Beaton’s dire performance shouldn’t be ignored or the appalling nature of those mistakes minimised.
A lot of the hacks have described it as “inexplicable” or “mind-boggling.”
It’s only those things if you assume he simply made a series of quite abysmal mistakes.
Otherwise, it’s corruption.
The penalty decision will be debated all day between those who wanted to see a contact and so saw one and those of us who’ve watched it and see only a player deciding to pull up his legs and hit the ground like a bag of coal. But the Sevco keeper should have been off, and there’s no doubt about that at all. Garner is lucky he’s not in police custody; his was an assault, and his sniggering after the fact was that of a thug who’s done exactly what he intended to do and knows there’ll be no consequences for it.
Beaton’s performance was just deplorable. This isn’t about whether it turned the game or not, or had an impact on who went through; this is about the basics, the fundamentals, doing things right. And he had a shocker. I don’t believe it’s coincidental that all the key decisions in the match favoured one team, but that would make him corrupt rather than incompetent and when it comes to the crunch it doesn’t really matter which of the two he was … he’s grossly unfit to be a Grade One official. That ought to be his last game at this level.
Our manager got no end of stick a few weeks ago for saying refs should protect players better; ask the Hamilton player almost laid out by that thug today if Brendan was right or wrong. Beaton didn’t miss the incident; he gave a yellow card for it, so it’s not like he didn’t get a good look.
In any match, under any other association, that is a sending off.
We’re not asking for justice or even basic fairness; well, we are but we know better than to expect them. This is Scotland, under the SFA, who recommended Hugh Dallas for a job at UEFA after he’d been sacked for sending a bigoted email, and whose son climbs the ladder in his place. This is the association of Campbell Ogilvie, which made excuses for a club that had cheated for over 10 years. So no, basic fairness and justice are too much to expect short of the reform I’m starting to think no club has the stomach for so we’ll never see.
But the least the SFA can do for the member clubs is make these people account for days like today, and I was saying the same after the penalty incident we got last month that had people frothing at the mouth. No-one can say that those of us in favour of a reform agenda are not consistent in our view that officials should be made to answer for these kind of calls … and today wasn’t just one, but three major decisions, all of them wrong, all favouring one team.
Enough is enough. Any other association would clear these people out and start over.
It’s not as if it’s not long overdue.
This was not simply a bad day at the office; Beaton has previous for scandalous calls in big matches. He gave Hearts a penalty at the start of the season against us only for the SFA itself to later ban Jamie Walker for diving. He disallowed a goal for the same club against Sevco in December. I could go on and on. This is consistent with this guy, a record of “bad calls” and “honest mistakes” which are either bewilderingly bad or bent.
If this guy gets another major match involving us between now and the end of the season I trust that our club will be highlighting his record of dire decisions and asking for clarification. Let the media or whoever call that whatever they will, but in the absence of an inquiry into that match today, I would not trust him to officiate games involving Sevco or ourselves in a fair minded manner.
Other clubs can make their own decision on that score, but I do not want this guy on the pitch for another Celtic match during this campaign.