ANGE POSTECOGLOU was confronted by a stone-faced John Beaton as the Celtic manager shook his hand in the immediate aftermath of the champions’ 3-2 win over their Ibrox rivals at Parkhead yesterday.

If the fourth official observed the time-honoured nicety of a polite smile at such a courteous gesture, then we missed it.

Of course, no-one can expect referees or their assistants to be turning cartwheels on the touchline if their particular favourite team manages to secure a victory.

Nor should they look as though they have just been informed their summer vacation has been cancelled.

Surely there must be some sort of middle ground where an acknowledgement is returned in kind, even for a fleeting moment?

ENDGAME…Ange Postecoglou shakes the hand of Michael Beale as John Beaton looks on.

GRIM TIMES…John Beaton doesn’t share the bonhomie with Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou with No.2 John Kennedy in the background.

Either way, Beaton gave the impression he would rather be any place else on the planet rather than the east end of Glasgow at that moment as a sell-out 60,000 Parkhead pulsated following the victory that pushed Celtic 12 points ahead in the race for a second successive title.

Coincidentally, Beaton was the referee in charge at Ibrox on January 2 when the Hoops failed to win the only one of four Glasgow derbies so far this season.

The visitors had to settle for a 2-2 draw on that occasion when the whistler awarded the hosts a penalty-kick after Carl Starfelt had slid in to challenge Fashion Sakala and the Zambian went to ground.

James Tavernier scored from the spot-kick to make it 2-1 for the Govan club.

Later in proceedings, Beaton denied Celtic a stonewall penalty-kick when Connor Goldson blocked a Starfelt effort with BOTH hands.

Remarkably, the match official wasn’t even instructed by VAR to review the incident on the touchline monitor.

Thankfully, justice was done when Kyogo Furuhashi thrashed in the equaliser two minutes from the end.

By the way, CQN only had to look back to this time last year and the bizarre social media message from referee Bobby Madden that wished everyone a Happy Easter.

Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it was sent in the immediate fall-out of the Ibrox team’s Scottish Cup semi-final win over Celtic.

Madden had been the referee on that Hampden occasion where defeat derailed any hopes of Hoops gaffer Postecoglou sweeping the boards of domestic silverware in his debut campaign.

The ref’s performance that afternoon drew widespread criticism with former Celts Chris Sutton and Kris Commons among those leading the comments.

In fact, Sutton took to Twitter to say: “Celtic were poor but Bobby Madden turned in one of the worst refereeing performances I’ve seen in Scotland for a long time… and that’s saying something!!!”

CQN pointed out the folly of the timing and we asked the whistler to explain going public at such a sensitive time.

Ironically, that last-four occasion at the national stadium was one of the individual’s final games of officiating in Scotland.

Madden is now blowing whistles in England and he was in charge of the third-tier match between Sheffield Wednesday and Lincoln City last weekend.

Happy Easter one and all!


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