The Untouchables! An alternative take on the John Beaton Scandal

HERE is an alternative perspective on the John Beaton controversy that magically moved from Celtic turning the spotlight onto the referee’s performance at Ibrox to him apparently receiving some threatening messages on social media and calling the Police.

Have the Police responded? If he’s had messages that break the law it will be a fairly simple task for the cops to make arrests. Let’s wait and see what happens but like the vast majority of Celtic supporters I’d take this with a large pinch of salt in the meantime.

It has the Dark Arts of media manipulation written all over it and we all know what is the Grand Master in that stuff.

Anyway one of our contributors of The Celtic Star – and a confirmed good Celtic man – has submitted this alternative take on the matter and of course it deserves an airing…

So all this John Beaton fallout has fairly stirred up some emotions. Anger then frustration culminating in downright deflation.

How did it get to this?

How did we go from a position of advantage to question recent incidents and how did we lose that high ground?

It brought a couple of things to mind.

I commented earlier this week that conceived notions of bias have been prevalent around this club for many years.

Tom Campbell wrote one of my favourite Celtic books of all time, ‘Celtic’s Paranoia… All in the Mind?

Worth a read today all these years later, in particular by the neanderthals who (allegedly) decided threats to last weekend’s referee were an appropriate response to Beaton’s refereeing performance at Ibrox.

If it did happen and if you were one of those who took more direct action and you can actually read, pick up a copy pronto if not and ask your Mum to read it to you a chapter at a time after bath time for the next month.

However the 2 things that actually sprung to mind was Jock Stein and how he responded to the bias towards Celtic and Sean Connery’s character Jim Malone and how he responded to Elliot Ness in The Untouchables, in how to bring down Capone when faced with all the force of organised crime in prohibition Chicago.

Let’s start with Malone discussing his strategy on how to bring down your enemy.

Malone: You said you wanted to get Capone. Do you really wanna get him? You see what I’m saying is, what are you prepared to do?

Ness: Anything and everything in my power.

Malone: And *then* what are you prepared to do? If you open the can on these worms you must be prepared to go all the way because they’re not gonna give up the fight until one of you is dead.

Ness: How do you do it then?

Malone: You wanna know how you do it? Here’s how, they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get Capone! Now do you want to do that? Are you ready to do that?

When Jock Stein was questioned on the bias shown towards Celtic he stated very simply ‘If you’re good enough the referee doesn’t matter.’

To be honest I can understand both viewpoints but I know there are many occasions where I have recalled Jock Stein’s quote to get me through some blatantly awful decisions towards Celtic.

Hugh Dallas as Rangers won the league at Parkhead. (And on many other occasions, Tynecastle, when he changed a goal kick into a penalty to give them 3 points, and ultimately the title).

Jim Farry and Jorge Cadete’s crucially delayed registration.

Dougie MacDonald and Steven Craven and subsequent allegations towards Hugh Dallas over disallowed penalties at Tannadice.

I’ve never however thought about upping my choice of weapon in a heated discussion over Celtic’s treatment at the hand of authority.

As I see it Beaton’s performance was awful. Was it biased? I don’t know, I’ve seen enough inept performances by refs in Scotland in all games for all teams to never be certain whether it’s bias or ineptitude.

Willie Collum is one of the worst refs I’ve ever seen. We all saw him give a penalty against us at Parkhead while his back was turned. Is he biased? Ask any fan in the Country and they’ll have a Willie Collum story. Evidence would suggest he’s not biased he’s just crap at his other job. Oh and I doubt Willie would frequent The Crown in Bellshill.

On the three examples I alluded to earlier I went back to Big Jock and simply thought. We weren’t good enough. Not on the day, not over the course of a season, not good enough to know we have to be even better than good to prevail.

Our club released a statement following no action being taken against Morelos for his series of misdemeanors. It was balanced and appropriate. It put the ball in the court of the SFA to respond and react. And they reluctantly (no doubt) had to and did.

What the alleged reactions of a tiny minority of Celtic supporters did – if it actually happened – was allow the SFA, scrabbling around and under pressure, the opportunity to deflect from Celtic’s concerns. Almost immediately too, so convenient really from their point of view.

Now the story has changed to referees under pressure. Professionals being not only questioned but threatened. The story of an inept referee performance drops down the news agenda. The story of SFA incompetence in not taking retrospective action was warm and fresh and the club had kept the embers burning for the weekend newspapers and radio/TV stations to run with it.

What this idiotic tiny minority did (if it is true) was to shift the narrative, give the authorities a ready made deflection gift wrapped as if Santa had made a late drop off. The agenda has been moved irretrievably. For all those who asked our club to respond they got it.

If true, for those who shook Beaton up enough that he called in the Police, you blew it for an opportunity of reasoned and publicly aired debate on the standard of his refereeing for all of us.

People won’t listening anymore.

Double Trebles and going for 8 in a Row show Jock Stein was right.

If some took the gun to knife fight approach they and set back reasoned publicly aired debate for months.

Capone was brought down for tax evasion. Maybe the pen is mightier than the sword after all.

Niall J

If you would like to present the counter argument on the Beaton story we’d love to hear from you. This story has a very long way to go so why not have your say?

Simply email and we’ll do the rest…

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email

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