The very fact that Andrew Smith has chosen to open his article on John Beaton – the guy caught celebrating his own performance in a Glasgow derby in an Ibrox fan bar some years – by calling him “one of Scotland’s top referees” is only part of what has gone wrong in the game here. Beaton is a terrible official, the sort who wouldn’t cut it anywhere else.
Recently, I read a book about the Vietnam War which offered a revealing insight; the US Army does not allow anyone to join its ranks who has an IQ under 80.
That corresponds to more than 30 million Americans, which goes some way towards explaining Donald Trump. They changed that requirement only once, during that disastrous conflict, because they needed every able body that they could get.
I understand that. I’ve begun to wonder if we do the same with our refs.
Beaton talked utter nonsense from start to finish when Smith interviewed him for The Scotsman. He compared the implementation of VAR to a club signing a player who hadn’t had a full pre-season. This is the kind of disingenuous bollocks these people have been getting away with for years. As Ange Postecoglou pointed out, this is not rocket science.
Other leagues implemented this without a problem.
Scotland has unique issues, one of which is bias, and Smith could not have spoken to someone with greater knowledge on that subject unless he’d corralled Hugh Dallas himself, whose son Andrew is of course one of the “full time VAR officials.”
I’m going to give Smith credit for something here and he’s earned it.
He is the only person who has consistently asked about the Ibrox run without conceding a penalty kick in the league; that run now extends to 55 games, way past anything we’ve seen before, way past anything that can be put down to mere coincidence.
And of course, Beaton dodged the question, offering up one of those answers which ought to bring us no comfort whatsoever.
And it’s not intended to. These people don’t care any longer what we think of them, and they know that nothing is going to be done about it.
“You are asking for an impossible question to be answered,” he said. “Stats are stats and you can present stats on how x, y and z have happened. All we can do is show you things on an incident by incident basis. And if you show us something and say, ‘how is that not a penalty kick’ then we can talk about that incident.”
Let’s start with that. He knows full well that one of the things that makes that run extraordinary is that there are literally dozens of incidents during it where the Ibrox club should have conceded penalties and didn’t. Some of these decisions are a flat-out disgrace, but every time one of them happens we’re expected to view it isolation.
So this is the same old bollocks we’ve gotten used to.
In order to understand what’s actually happening you cannot isolate these incidents. You have to place them in context, and the first context is to recognise that only one club is on a run like this, and that an inordinate number of close penalty calls fall in their favour.
He continues this nonsense in the same manner.
“When a club goes a period of time without conceding a penalty then we need to look at incidents individually. It’s impossible to comment on a longer-term statistical thing.
It’s an anomaly and stats will back up a story any way you want them to back up a story,” he said. Which is his way of hand waiving this as “nothing to see here Timmy.”
I respect Smith for putting this point to him, but I’m sure he never realistically expected to get a decent answer. But then, he asked the question to a person who is, to use an expression which was applied to another SFA official once upon a time, “conflicted.”
Beaton cannot be trusted. He is not part of the solution. He is part of the problem.