JOHN BEATON was miles away from the action at Tynecastle yesterday, but the referee still managed to take centre stage.

As VAR assistant to match official Don Robertson, he was in front of the multi screens at Clydesdale House in Glasgow.

Beaton incurred the wrath of Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers after proving he can be as bewildering with a remote control as he can with a whistle.

The Hoops boss raged at full-time after the champions had toppled to a 2-0 loss to Hearts in a controversy-laden encounter that saw Yang Hyun-jun red-carded in the 14th minute and the hosts awarded a penalty-kick just before the interval – two ludicrous VAR-assisted decisions.

RED CARD MYSTERY…Yang Hyun-jun heads up the tunnel as Brendan Rodgers prepares for his team to play with 10 men at Tynecastle.

PENALTY-KICK PUZZLER…Tomoki Iwata is unaware as the ball hits his arm as Alistair Johnston and Stephen Kinglsey duel for a high ball.

Beaton, who banished Joe Hart, 36, earlier in the season at Livingston for the 75 times-capped England international keeper’s only sending-off in a 20-year career, is, of course, no stranger to baffling judgement calls where Celtic are concerned.

It would take way too long to list all of of his incomprehensible rulings and I’ve a dental appointment on April 3, so we’ll make do with just one example from his avalanche of head-scratching variety of verdicts.

Looking back to April last year, CQN reported the whistler had cut a glum figure at Parkhead at the conclusion of the Hoops’ well-deserved 3-2 triumph in the Glasgow derby.

The fourth official remained grim-faced amid the euphoria in the east end of Glasgow as 60,000 joyous fans celebrated the champions’ success that propelled them 12 points ahead with only seven league games left to play.

In sportsmanlike fashion, former gaffer Ange Postecoglou shook hands with vanquished opposite number Michael Beale before doing likewise with the assistant referee.

GRIM AND BEAR IT…John Beaton looks glum as Ange Postecoglou shakes his hand in the aftermath of Celtic’s 3-2 derby triumph at Parkhead in April 2023.

Beaton couldn’t turn the frown upside down as he accepted the hand offered by the Celtic manager.

CQN, with tongue firmly in cheek, asked: ‘Why so glum, John?’

We decided to look through our pictorial library to see if we could find an image of the match official actually cracking a smile.

Lo and behold, we found one from January the previous year in which Beaton is shown to be beaming brightly. Ironically, the occasion was the award of a penalty-kick for Hearts against Celtic at Tynecastle.

SMILES BETTER…referee John Beaton explains to Joe Hart why he has just awarded a penalty-kick to Hearts.

THE LAST POST…John Beaton watches as Liam Boyce slams the penalty-kick award against the woodwork.

GOAL OR NO GOAL? Liam Boyce appears to have strayed into an offside position, but his effort for Hearts against Celtic was deemed okay by referee John Beaton.

The Hoops were leading 2-1 with strikes from Reo Hatate and Giorgos Giakoumakis while Liam Boyce had tucked one away from an offside position, as images proved in CQN‘s match summary.

In the 72nd minute, Beaton adjudged Nir Bitton had handled a header from Peter Haring following a right-wing corner-kick. It was a contentious decision and was queried by keeper Joe Hart among other bewildered Celts. Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it?

The referee looked happy enough to give an explanation. Justice was done when Boyce slammed his effort against the woodwork and the ball bounced clear.

After seven minutes of stoppage-time, the Hoops had clung on for another three points on their way to a famous title success in Postecoglou’s debut campaign.

The Hoops are currently two points adrift with nine games to play – two against the Ibrox side – and are aiming for the last laugh.

I’m not betting against them.





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