Celtic v theRangers – ‘S’happenin’ Beaton’

When times are tough you often need your friends around you. When it comes to theRangers they certainly have had a few within the refereeing community over the years who’ve been more than willing to lend a hand in times of trouble.

With John Beaton the current jewel in the ‘Crown’ it is unlikely many Celtic fans were particularly surprised to hear the Bellshill boozer’s previous controversies have had little damage on Beaton’s professional reputation amongst his SFA paymasters.

When your rivals are only a point behind with a game in hand to boot, and only a few short weeks ago the staunch support was dreaming of a double point advantage in the league race, it’s not a tough choice to make. Short term pain of adverse headlines on Celtic fans media is worth the long-term gain if Brother Beaton can work his magic. As he’s evidenced on prior occasions, he’s more than capable of managing just that.

Only in Scotland would a decision to award this game to a referee with questionable decision making around Celtic or the opponents of theRangers be met with the wronged party being advised to keep their paranoia in check.

In December 2018 Beaton was involved in a series of controversies on the park, and an even bigger one off it. So much so Celtic took their concerns about Beaton’s performance to the Scottish FA.

Even prior to that infamous encounter Beaton had already shown himself as an able operative when it came to helping out the Ibrox club. Six years ago, even the mighty Albion Rovers felt the impact of the helping hand of the 12th man.

In the Scottish Cup theRangers emerged from a tricky home cup tie with another bite at the cherry. Having fallen behind to a Ciaran Donnelly goal for Albion Rovers in the 14th minute, the natives were getting restless, until Beaton turned a blind eye to ‘the’ Rangers Bilel Moshni barging the goalkeeper into the net alongside the ball and awarding the controversial equaliser.

Speaking to the Daily Record, goalkeeper Neil Parry said: “I thought it was a foul on me because Mohsni lead with his arm. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if the incident had happened at the other end of the pitch.

“I’m disappointed by the referee’s decision but I won’t allow it to detract from what we achieved against (the)Rangers. We’re delighted with our draw and it’s anything but a hard-luck story.”

You can make your own mind’s up on that one at 2 minutes 20 seconds into the clip below. I’m not sure what is more embarrassing the decision itself or theRangers requiring a helping hand from the officials to navigate a cup-tie with Coatbridge’s finest.

Long before Kieran Tierney’s Lennoxtown quip became famous, the former Celtic full back was asking ‘S’happenin’ Beaton’ at Tynecastle on 7 August 2016. Much like Albion Rover’s Parry there was a feeling of incredulity surrounding the decision.

This time it was in Brendan Rodgers first league game against Hearts at Tynecastle. With Hearts trailing to an 8th minute James Forrest goal, a man with an already finely developed reputation for timely imbalance fell to the floor inside the Celtic penalty area. Jamie walker collapsed in the box under no contact at all and John Beaton couldn’t wait to point at the spot. Hearts equalised as Walker recovered from the assault to score the resultant penalty, though thankfully Scotty Sinclair came to the rescue from the subs bench and rescued all three points for the Celts.

Apparently, Beaton held his hands up to the ‘mistake’ as Brendan Rodgers pointed out post-match in a somewhat diplomatic response, all things considered.

Ex-Hoops boss Rodgers said: “I don’t want to kill the referee. He knows fine well he made a mistake and he admitted it on the pitch. Thankfully it didn’t cost us.”

You can judge the integrity of the award for yourselves here:

Then came the reward for such professional refereeing performances. December 2018 at Ibrox and Beaton officiates over Celtic’s 1-0 defeat at Ibrox. It was a case of job done for Beaton and my word did he rise to the occasion.

Beaton’s Glasgow Derby, as Celtic fell to a 1-0 reverse, beggared belief. Yet he outdid himself post-match. The issues on the field of play centred on Alfredo Morelos. When do they not?

Morelos clearly kicked at Scott Brown, stamped on the spine of Anthony Ralston with his studs and seemed to grab at Ryan Christie’s groin in the usual production of Morelos savagery. Somehow the referee missed the incidents. Or did he?

Alfredo Morelos was cited by the SFA for those three incidents in the Ibrox match. However, because referee Beaton confirmed he did see all three incidents; no retrospective action could take place. Turned out he wasn’t unsighted. In fact, he turned a blind eye, before presumably getting blind drunk in Bellshill.

Just as you thought the story couldn’t get any worse, John Beaton decided to go on the drink and with it very much take the piss, all in one ill-advised visit to a Bellshill watering hole straight after the game. A well-known, if not a rather infamous ‘Rangers’(sic) pub, the Crown Bar. It wasn’t long until his grinning face was posted in photographs all over the internet posing alongside the staunch regulars.

Celtic themselves felt the need to question the whole sorry mess and released an official statement on the matter.

“It is reported that no action was taken because the match referee saw all of the incidents in question.

“Given that the referee took no action at the time, this tends to suggest that such conduct, which in one instance led to a Celtic player, Anthony Ralston, being injured, is acceptable in Scottish football. That cannot be right.

“On the day, Celtic did not play well enough to win the match, something we accept. However, this issue goes beyond the result of the match.”

And despite of a catalogue of refereeing imbalances when it comes to officiating games involving theRangers and Celtic, John Beaton is the man who will be charged with handling the first Glasgow Derby of the season a week today. In any other Country this would be a shock, in Scotland it elicits little more than a shrug.

I doubt there will be much need to ask “S’ happenin’ Beaton” on Saturday, I’m fairly sure we’ve all got a fair idea what lies in store.

In tough times we all get by with a little help from our friends and it seems those at theRangers may see a friendly face at Celtic Park on Saturday. Although getting a post-match pint and after game handshake down the Crown may be a little more difficult this time around.

Niall J

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About Author

As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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