REFEREE John Beaton has called in police after allegations of threatening messages online following his handling of the Old Firm clash at Ibrox a week ago.

The match official is at the centre of controversy after allowing Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos to escape punishment during Steven Gerrard’s side’s 1-0 win over Celtic.

Parkhead chiefs have called on the FIFA-listed whistler to explain why he refused to take action against the Colombian striker following his involvement in THREE separate incidents with Hoops players.

The champions have requested a meeting with the SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell after compliance officer Clare Whyte was unable to dish out retrospective punishment against Morelos.

The player kicked out at opposing skipper Scott Brown, made a gesture to the groin area of Ryan Christie and stamped on the grounded Anthony Ralston.

However, Whyte could not take any further action after Beaton confirmed he had seen all three incidents during the game.

The referee has now been forced to contact Police Scotland after his work mobile phone number was leaked on social media.

He claimed to have been bombarded with dozens of threatening and abusive messages and is now waiting to speak to officers.

CLASH…grounded Celt Anthony Ralston takes a sore one from Alfredo Morelos.

OUCH…Ralston holds his ribs in agony after the controversial incident.

Celtic released a statement which expressed surprise at the decision and will look to meet with Maxwell and the SFA’s head of refereeing, John Fleming.

The statement read: “Celtic Football Club is surprised that there will be no disciplinary action taken by the Scottish FA regarding the incidents during the match on December 29, which have been widely addressed in the media.

“It is reported that no action was taken because the match referee saw all of the incidents in question.

“Given that the referee took no action at the time, this tends to suggest that such conduct, which in one instance led to a Celtic player, Anthony Ralston, being injured, is acceptable in Scottish football. That cannot be right.

“On the day, Celtic did not play well enough to win the match, something we accept. However, this issue goes beyond the result of the match.

“Celtic is not the only club this season to raise concerns regarding the standard of officiating at matches in Scotland, concerns which have also been shared by many commentators on the game.

“In order to fully understand what is going on, Celtic, our supporters, Scottish clubs and the general Scottish football public need transparency in these matters, and we therefore call on the Scottish FA to allow the referee, John Beaton, to explain these decisions publicly as well as any match officials involved in other similar circumstances.

“In the meantime, we have requested a meeting with Scottish FA chief executive, Ian Maxwell, and the Association’s Head of Refereeing.”

In response, a statement from the SFA read: “We welcome discussions with any of our member clubs.

“The board discussed this last month and it was agreed that we would arrange a meeting involving stakeholders including managers, our referee operations department and PFA Scotland.

“This will be an excellent opportunity to open dialogue, answer questions and discuss opportunities to improve our game.”


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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