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Michael Nicholson’s backing for John Beaton

As predictable as the events of Ibrox were yesterday so to is the silent approval for John Beaton and the host club from Celtic, led by Michael Nicholson.

The £750,000 a year CEO was in among friends in the Directors Box at Ibrox yesterday as the man from the Crown Bar delivered exactly the type of performance that was anticipated by most Celtic fans.

Around Nicholson his management team were attacked by missiles after a ‘goal’ for the homeside was disallowed. A glass bottle was thrown at Matt O’Riley for scoring with a penalty.

In an ironic twist Beaton’s anything-goes policy for fouls on Celtic players came back to bite, when Cyriel Dessers netted a VAR review highlighted the attack on Tomoki Iwata by Tom Lawrence that Beaton didn’t want to punish. That incident summed up the approach to foul play by the man from the Crown Bar in Bellshill.

If Nicholson needed updated on the ability of Beaton it came a month earlier when Brendan Rodgers described him as incompetent following his VAR role at Tynecastle when Celtic lost 2-0.

This season’s SPFL Premiership winners can expect to pick up around £40-50m from next season’s revamped Champions League, the last five points that Celtic have dropped have been with Beaton involved n VAR and, yesterday, on the pitch at Ibrox.

After Rodgers was given his first ever touchline ban for his comments on Beaton Celtic quickly reached for their favoured reaction, the timing of their statement suggested that it had been prepared in advance of the appeal against the Notice of Complaint:

Following a hearing by the SFA disciplinary panel today (Thursday), Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has been issued with a two-match suspension. One match is immediate and will apply to this Sunday’s Premiership game against Livingston, while one match is suspended until the end of the 2023/24 season.

A Celtic Football Club statement said: “Clearly, we are disappointed with the outcome of today’s hearing, although we will accept the panel’s decision.

The Manager appeared at the hearing today, and his defence was presented robustly and thoroughly.

Like many other clubs, we will continue to press for the highest standards in relation to the VAR process in Scottish football.”

As most customers know statements like that are a simple deflection exercise, there is nothing to suggest that Celtic are pushing for ‘the highest standards in relation to the VAR process in Scottish football.

If they were neither Don Robertson or Beaton would have been refereeing their last two matches following the travesty at Tynecastle. If ‘leading Sports Lawyer’ Nicholson needs help on that issue a word with his friend James Bisgrove should enlighten him in how to sideline officials like Willie Collum and Kevin Clancy.

No questions were raised last week about Alan Muir’s decision not to recommend a VAR review when Kyogo Furuhashi was wiped out by Micky Devlin of Livingston. Nicholson was perfectly happy with the officials at that match.

Not a word will be said in public about Beaton and Nick Walsh conjuring up a penalty at Ibrox yesterday for the theatrics of Fabio Silva who should have been booked in the first half for repeated simulation.

In a closely contested match it takes some incredible decision making to produce a foul count of 23-10 with a 4% swing on possession.

With that level of protection the home players had licence to do as they please while four Celtic players were on egg-shells after being booked, three of them during the first half.

John Beaton, VAR, SFA, Graeme Shinnie, Crawford Allan

Beaton’s performance in a home match against St Mirren was raised at the Celtic AGM in November, showing the wacky nature of his character Nicholson cracked a joke that went down a treat with the elderly audience- and was noted by Crawford Allan and his colleagues.

Yesterday the joke was on Celtic, a potential loss of £50m is one defeat away with the only guarantee that after two and a half years as CEO there is no chance of Nicholson raising his voice or demanding answers in public from the SFA.

The current CEO has been on the Celtic pay-roll since May 2013, CLICK HERE for his Linked-in profile.

In January 2019, six days after an incredible performance by Beaton in a defeat at Ibrox Celtic issued the following statement which was completely ignored by the SFA.

Celtic Football Club is surprised that there will be no disciplinary action taken by the Scottish FA regarding the incidents during the match on December 29, which have been widely addressed in the media. 

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.

Celtic is not the only club this season to raise concerns regarding the standard of officiating at matches in Scotland, concerns which have also been shared by many commentators on the game.

In order to fully understand what is going on, Celtic, our supporters, Scottish clubs and the general Scottish football public need transparency in these matters, and we therefore call on the Scottish FA to allow the referee, John Beaton, to explain these decisions publicly as well as any match officials involved in other similar circumstances.

In the meantime, we have requested a meeting with Scottish FA Chief Executive, Ian Maxwell, and the Association’s Head of Refereeing.

Since that statement Beaton has refereed the 2020 and 2023 Scottish Cup Finals, an honour given to the SFA’s top referee.

CLICK HERE for the Crawford Allan rumours.

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