We deservedly lost at Ibrox on Saturday, so it would have been inappropriate to apportion any responsibility towards referee John Beaton, for the free reign Newco player Alfredo Morelos had to kick Scott Brown, stamp on Anthony Ralston and assault the genitals of Ryan Christie during the game.
These things occasionally happen in football (although seldom in such quantities) and are picked up by the SFA review process. What is exceptional about these circumstances is that the review process is unable to act as the referee claims to have witnessed each incident and determined no action was worthy of a caution or more.
Beaton will have mitigated his decisions with some or other explanation, perhaps with “It wasn’t that bad a stamp” type comment. This is how the process works. The system is rightly designed to protect referees and allow them latitude to make decisions, including the occasional mistake.
It is not always easy to view common assault for what it is, in fact, it is easy to get carried away with an occasion and raise your threshold for such matters. It is only human to be affected this way. But this is bad refereeing.
Beaton could have taken the easy route out and claimed he missed one or more of the incidents, each was off the ball, after all. That would have allowed the review panel to dispassionately decide if such attacks are to be prohibited, or encouraged, in our game. Instead, he affirmed that in his view, there was nothing in Morelos behaviour worthy of a caution.
I have no idea what Dedryck Boyata said to earn his red card from John Beaton against St Johnstone earlier this season but I defended the referee’s decision that day. You have to trust match officials to competently carry out their duties. Do I still trust John Beaton’s views on kicking players, stamping, genital punching and the like? No. His views and significantly out of line with mine.
I don’t see a conspiracy in what happened this week, just a referee who was not up to the job. A good referee would have cautioned Morelos for the first incident (kick on Brown). This may have prevented the more serious attacks on Ralston and Christie, but the Newco player was not even spoken to after any of the incidents.
These are not easy games to officiate but this was not a game full of controversy or incident, only one player and one referee lost the plot.