Date: 9th January 2019 at 2:48pm
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There is a moment in the wonderful first season of The Sopranos where Tony and his wife Carmella are debating how to punish their daughter. She’s been caught misbehaving, but they are trapped in a typically wicked scenario; Meadow is blaming her friend for causing the trouble. Tony rightly surmises that her friend will be across town telling her own parents that it was all Meadow’s fault.

“It’s an old game!” he shouts, more in frustration than anything else.

Because how do you get to the bottom of that? How do you establish fact from fiction? Actually it’s easier than you think, just so long as you are prepared to get everyone involved around the table at the same time. Then, when you ask the questions nobody can hide. When gets it sit-down with the they will get to the bottom of this stuff.

Someone is lying to us here, to all of us, everyone in Scottish football. Is it the SFA when they put forward their ludicrous “explanations”? Or is it the refs, through their pals in the press? You know what? I really couldn’t say and I really don’t care that much.

Even if you accept Keith Jackson’s article this morning – and it’s a clear attempt at spin – you still have to accept that Beaton saw all the incidents involving Morelos when they happened and didn’t think even one of them was a booking. That simply defies belief, I’m afraid. If he didn’t believe that any of those fouls merited a yellow card, then he is incompetent to the point where he can’t really be trusted to officiate in major games.

This morning, in yet another bang-on article, Phil said that the officials were high-fiving each other in their room after the game.

For what reason? Great performances?

You’ve got to be joking.

For the home team getting a result?

That’s far more likely in my view. We know where Beaton spent that evening, as that’s been widely reported … on the forums and blogs anyway, including a few on the Ibrox side. It is not mere speculation; he celebrated that night in a hostelry full of their supporters and that is an undisputed fact.

It’s just one that nobody in the seems to want to talk about.

According to Jackson’s article, Beaton “might” have changed his mind about the Morelos incidents had he been allowed to view them again and the compliance officer asked his opinion. Think on that for a second. Is it supposed to be a joke?

Those incidents are freely available to view in a hundred different places from ten different angles. Anyone who wanted another look could have it any time they wanted. If Beaton really is being “railroaded” it’s his own fault if he’s sitting there like a mute for want of “waiting to be asked.” I sure as Hell wouldn’t let anyone torch my reputation in the manner Jackson alleges rather than speak up about it in the room where it matters.

On top of that, Jackson throws in the wonderful allegation that Beaton “and his family” now have round the clock police protection like someone who gave evidence in a gangland murder. Whilst I deplore any harrassment of refs this is several shades beyond ludicrous.

Is this supposed to be credible journalism?

Is there the slightest proof that what Jackson says is accurate? Has he even asked? Or did he just swallow what he heard from someone who knew someone who knew someone else? Because I don’t believe that claim for one second, it is either entirely false or exaggerated to a fare-thee-well.

As Phil pointed out in his piece today, this isn’t a complicated case for the police to solve; it’s strictly ABC stuff.

This is some text messages and a few dodgy phone calls; they will be able to trace those back to their source in no time at all unless we’re dealing with Jason Bourne type master-criminals here and I’m fairly certain that’s not the case. This is a few eejits online, we’re not talking about world class assassins here routing their calls and texts through eleven satellites in fourteen countries to throw investigators off the trail.

Frankly, if Police Scotland really are putting a ring of steel around a guy who got a couple of abusive text messages then I’m appalled as a tax payer for what I am certain is a colossal waste of resources. And any good journalist should be submitting a Freedom of Information request to get to the bottom of those sort of claims because they are helping to ferment the very atmosphere the media is decrying here. It is more than just hysterical nonsense, it is dangerous.

To read some of the coverage here you’d think our game was in danger of becoming a banana republic. Jackson has blamed it on “a close title race” which seems to me like his way of obliquely suggesting that we’re somehow to blame for it, as these things didn’t happen in any of the last two years. But it wasn’t our fans who threw coins at Neil Lennon, or racially abused Scott Sinclair or hit a referee with a coin at Livingston.

Besides, blaming supporters for the scandalous state of refereeing is yet another deflection tactic. The SFA cannot get its house in order, whether that means getting its officials to meet certain standards before they get games or sorting out the unfolding calamity that is their compliance procedure. This includes having the Rangers licence issue from 2011 still unresolved instead of being forwarded to CAS like they were supposed to.

It is incredible to me that you cannot find supporters at any club who trust the SFA to do the right thing. Ibrox fans hate the governing body as much as our supporters do, and speaking for myself it’s this distrust of them that stops me supporting Strict Liability, which it’s becoming increasingly clear that our game needs in some form or another.

But I do not want that power in the hands of our current “administrators” because God alone knows what they would do with it. God alone knows what they would allow and what they would decide to punish. The same people who don’t think a player being stamped on constitutes a yellow or red card should not have the authority to dictate when supporters have crossed the line, nor the power to punish clubs as they see fit for that.

This whole thing is a fiasco. We’ve had days of it now, and all since Celtic decided to ask for an official explanation. Instead of giving our club one in private, in a professional manner, we’ve had to watch as hysteria, allegations and counter allegations fill the press. We’ve had our very legitimate complaint lumped in with coins being thrown at people and even the racist abuse of our own player. In the meantime, matters of significance are not being explored at all.

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