John Beaton it is then. Hibs have their 12th man.
I don’t think it’s a unreasonable to say that. I think, in fact, that it is entirely reasonable to say it. Beaton was caught celebrating his role in an Ibrox club win over us drinking in one of their fan bars.
That is not supposition, that is a fact and everyone knows it is a fact.
But our media does not like to talk about that fact.
Celtic may or may not have expressed their disquiet over the standard of officiating in private to the upper echelon of the SFA, but let’s be honest, the decision to put Beaton in the role for such a massive match shows how little we’re being listened to.
Being blunt, he should never referee a Celtic game again. He is tainted. There is no point in pretending otherwise, just because the press doesn’t want to discuss it. We know. Celtic know. He represents a risk to our chances, it’s just as simple as that.
Hibs will give us a game. They are a good side. Their manager is a good organiser. Even without a referee who isn’t likely to let them away with murder and who isn’t likely to give us anything, this would be a difficult fixture. His central role in it could tip the balance.
Ange needs to be aware of that. Aware of who this guy is and what the history is.
He needs to keep the players on a tight leash.
Even then, he has to be prepared for the possibility that our players will be penalised for everything they do and Hibs getting away with much more than they should.
The media campaign against Kyogo will be particularly dangerous.
I am not suggesting that we will lose. I do not believe that we will. We are the better side with the better manager and our fans will be there to give the team all the support they require to lift them above any adversity.
But Beaton is a threat, as potent as the Hibs players, as dangerous to us as Boyle and Nisbet and the rest.
We would be fools not to have that at the front of our minds.