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SFA step up the trolling of silent Michael Nicholson

Hard as it is to believe, Michael Nicholson is in an even weaker position tonight than he was this morning.

Two months ago, from his comfy seat at Tynecastle the Celtic CEO watched an incredible performance from the SFA officials impact on the £40m race for the SPFL Premiership title.

It wasn’t that Don Robertson and John Beaton didn’t have previous, both men have risen through the ranks on the watch of Crawford Allan on the back of very mysterious decision making.

Beaton has come out of the shadow of Bobby Madden since the East Kilbride based official decided to step up his media career at the end of the 21/21 season. Fans first noted Beaton in season 2013/14 season when Albion Rovers were denied a Scottish Cup win at Ibrox, it seems that his performance that day accelerated his route to the top.

When Robertson awarded Ross County an outrageous penalty against Celtic in April 2016 following a dive from Alex Schalk when there wasn’t a Celtic player within a yard it should have halted Robertson’s match towards the top in refereeing.

If he loves the game and wants to be involved he could keep his howlers out of the public eye in the lower divisions of the SPFL or in the Lowland League.

Nicholson has watched Robertson and Beaton perform on a regular basis, their performances are predictable, at Tynecastle they combined to cost Celtic three points resulting in Brendan Rodgers serving his first ever touchline ban.

With other officials in charge Celtic would probably be taking a six point lead into the final four matches of the season.

Typically the Celtic CEO sat back saying nothing. At the 2023 Celtic AGM he was asked a detailed question about Beaton, rather than provide a reply he decided to crack a joke that went down a treat with his boardroom chums.

Rodgers described Beaton as incompetent, he was served with a Notice of Complaint, despite hiring Nick de Marco the Celtic manager was hit with a one match touchline ban.

Nicholson is apparently a top sports lawyer, in common with every issue since his appointment in September 2021 he hasn’t said a word about anything other than his wet wipe displays at the AGM.

Today, two months after the Travesty at Tynecastle, the SFA confirmed that Beaton made mistakes at Tynecastle with their box ticking exercise titled VAR Independent Review Panel (IRP) update.

Covering that review, Football Scotland reports:

Hearts 2-0 Celtic (3/3/24): VAR should have recommended an on-field review. Penalty decision should have been overturned – no foul and no penalty should have been awarded to Celtic.

Hearts 2-0 Celtic (3/3/24): On-field decision correct, no penalty to Hearts. Handball should not have been awarded for spot-kick that led to opening goal.

John Beaton, VAR, SFA, Nicholson Crawford AllanIncredibly it seems that the whitewash report agreed with the red card given to Yang Hyun-jun despite similar incidents on a weekly basis going unpunished. Claiming that the Yang penalty was a mistake is a clear example of evening up, there was clear contact and intent, it was a far more obvious penalty than the Silva one awarded by Beaton at Ibrox against Celtic.

The VAR review is as far as it goes with transparency from the SFA, a situation that Celtic are fully supportive of. At the 2022 AGM Nicholson asked fans to allow for a settling in period after Nick Walsh and Steven McLean set the VAR standard with two penalties against Celtic at Tynecastle while ignoring Michael Smith handling a pass from James Forrest.

Since that match at Tynecastle the SFA have announced that Crawford Allan is stepping down as their Head of Refereeing but remaining in post till the end of the season.

Following the decision to ban Rodgers from the touchline for one match Celtic have played five games. Robertson has refereed two of them, Beaton two with Steven McLean, the brother of a former Rangers starlet getting the other game.

Fortunately Rodgers has steered Celtic into a three point lead with four matches left to play, if he can win the SPFL title it will be bonus time for Nicholson with an even bigger tranche of Champions League money to come and the chance to push towards £200 from Season Ticket holders for a four match package.

While Rodgers deals with Robertson and Beaton on a regular basis Philippe Clement doesn’t have to worry about Willie Collum after decisive action from his CEO at the turn of the year. On Sunday True Blue David Dickinson will referee his fourth match involving Clement’s side since the winter break.

No Scottish referees will be at the European Championships in Germany this summer.

CLICK HERE for the Celts guide to Santa Ponsa.

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