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SFA troll Celtic with Beaton and Dallas as the joke rebounds on Nicholson

This morning the SFA sent the Celtic support another reminder that Michael Nicholson is a complete irrelevence within Scottish football.

For the third time in seven matches John Beaton will have a key role in an SPFL fixture. Refereeing Sunday’s match away to Dundee, the hoops have dropped five points in the two matches involving Beaton since the start of March.

Sitting on a VAR screen for the match away to Hearts he prompted Don Robertson to send off Yang Hyun-jun then gift Hearts a penalty over a handball that not even the Scottish media could find someone to endorse. Kris Boyd and Neil McCann could hardly stop laughing.

After that match Brendan Rodgers snapped, he described Beaton as incompetent then copped his first ever touchline ban. The Irishman was in the stand away to Livingston but back for the match at Ibrox- and so was Beaton.

The match at Ibrox was a masterclass in game management, Celtic went in at half time leading 2-0 but with three players booked despite almost complete dominance of the first 45 minutes. None of Philippe Clement’s players were booked, not even Fabio Silva.

Ibrox was in stunned silence during the half time break but the man from the Crown Bar in Bellshill excelled himself after the break, starting with the award of a penalty to the homeside.

The match finished 3-3 with Celtic the dirtiest team in the UK over the weekend, picking up four yellow cards with 23 fouls committed. Only 10 fouls were awarded against the hosts, one after VAR was required to pick up on the foul in the build up to a ‘goal’ from Cyriel Dessers. Clement’s side didn’t have a single player booked.

Across social media Celtic fans were sickened by what they had witnessed, Beaton lived up to expectations, some Twitter accounts like Lint broke down the his performance forensically.

The day after the match Celtic sheepishly released their Unique Angle coverage of the match which picked up on a bottle thrown at Matt O’Riley.

There was no comment or statement from the host club, the SFA or SPFL about that or coins that hit John Kennedy.

Rather than deal with the refereeing and security issues directly Celtic turned to their favourite tactic, telling their media pals how really really angry they were while knowing that neither Nicholson or Peter Lawwell would dare to say a word against the SFA. At the 2019 Celtic AGM Lawwell claimed that he had never seen the Five Way Agreement from 2012.

At 1.26 on Monday The Sun reported:

A¬†Celtic¬†spokesperson said:¬†“It has been confirmed today that a glass bottle was thrown at Matt O’Riley at yesterday‚Äôs match.

“The repeated targeting of our players and staff with missiles is quite appalling and completely unacceptable.

“We have already raised our serious concerns with Rangers and understand that police are investigating the matter.”

The Daily Record obviously weren’t to be left out of the loop, despite a day of backing up every decision from Beaton and Walsh, at 6.58pm they were handed as weak a statement as you could imagine:

The club has been in correspondence with the Scottish FA regarding the VAR process throughout the season, and has also played an active part in the SPFL working group which is seeking to work with the Scottish FA to improve standards for all clubs. We have raised our further concerns regarding the VAR process in the match with the Scottish FA and await a response.

That followed a big build up around the Silva simulation, not that you’d know with nothing specific in the Celtic statement. Two weeks later there hasn’t been any further mention of the coins, bottle or the way that VAR operated. When Nottingham Forest are looking for their next CEO Nicholson is unlikely to be on the short-list

While the Celtic executives patted themselves on the back over a swift act of deflection Aberdeen were handing Nicholson a lesson on how to question decision making.

Four days after they were denied a goal and two points away to Livingston due to guesswork using still images rather than the VIDEO ASSISTANT REFEREE the Dons provided their fans with a detailed breakdown of their discussioins and meetings with the SFA.

On the record rather than briefing pet media partners Aberdeen stated:

What this situation demonstrates, in our opinion, is that the version of VAR that Scottish football has, or more accurately, can afford, is not suitable for the purpose in which it is intended. It perfectly highlights the limitations in the technology, the inappropriate implementation, the consistency of decision-making, and the negative impact on the overall experience for the match-going supporter.

This is, of course, not an issue that we believe is in any way exclusive to Aberdeen FC. We are not being partisan because we believe a decision, or at least a process, has not been at all effective at the weekend. We acknowledge there have been occasions where we ourselves have been fortunate to have benefitted from some of the observations and limitations raised.

Beaton has a lengthy charge sheet of surprising decisions given in matches highlighted by his display in the December 2018 Glasgow Derby where Alfredo Morelos escaped any punishment for attacks on Scott Brown, Ryan Christie and Tony Ralston.

After a furious backlash from supporters on social media Lawwell dusted down the surprised and disappointed statement template. After tea and biscuits with Ian Maxwell the issue was dropped, in 2020 and 2023 the SFA rewarded Beaton by putting him in charge of the Scottish Cup Final.

This seasons SPFL Premiership title will be worth between ¬£40-60m to the winners, allowing Beaton’s continuous appointments for Celtic matches looks at best to be an act of negligence by Nicholson.

As well as the Aberdeen statement the Celtic CEO could learn some lessons from his friend at Ibrox, James Bisgrove.

After two rounds of briefings to media partners the Ibrox CEO informed the Heart & Hand podcast that the SFA had been requested not to have Willie Collum involved in any future matches.

After 15 rounds of fixtures the former RE teacher from Ibrox has had one Fourth Official appointment for an SPFL match involving Philippe Clement’s side. David Dickson and Beaton have both had three matches with Alan Muir on two.

The match at Dundee is Celtic’s 34th in the SPFL, for the sixth time Beaton will be the referee. The SFA have selected 18 different referees to take charge of SPFL matches. Beaton hasn’t refereed any match since the 3-3 draw at Ibrox.

Celtic may well manage to take three points from Dundee on Sunday, whatever the result is it is as close to a certainty as you’ll find that Beaton will referee or VAR at least one more Celtic match this season with two Glasgow Derbies the fixture he clearly has his eye on.

Nicholson will be getting watched as closely as Beaton over the remaining weeks of the season, since becoming CEO in September 2021 he hasn’t given a single interview outwith AGM requirements, not even to Celtic’s various in-house media platforms.

CLICK HERE for Beaton’s matches this season.

CLICK HERE for the Crawford Allan rumours.

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