FORMER top referee Steve Conroy insists John Beaton got it WRONG with his penalty-kick call that presented Rangers with an equaliser in their 2-2 stalemate with Aberdeen at Ibrox in midweek.

Dons boss Stephen Glass claimed it was no spot-kick after viewing the incident again, as Scotzine reportedyesterday.

Beaton made the award after adjudging David Bates had fouled substitute Fashion Sakala with nine minutes to go with three points heading for Pittodrie.

INSTANT DECISION…referee John Beaton (extreme left) points to the penalty spot after the controversial incident between David Bates and Fashion Sakala (on ground).

James Tavernier converted from 12 yards to salvage a draw, but one-time Grade One match official Conroy is convinced the champions were fortunate to get the decision and insisted the controversial incident emphasised why VAR MUST be introduced in Scottish football.

Even former Gers and Dons defender Richard Foster admitted he was puzzled at the award, despite watching the alleged foul.

Ex-Celtic striker Chris Sutton took to Twitter to brand Beaton’s decision: “That’s the worst I’ve seen”.

An onlooker added: “If penalty-kicks are awarded for a defender making contact with an opponent, we can stand by for a barrage of spot-kicks at every single corner-kick.”

Fifty-four-year-old Conroy, who a top SFA official for 12 years, told the Daily Record: “I wouldn’t go as far as Chris Sutton, but I have to say that I’ve seen it and I don’t know what the foul was.

TOUCH AND GO…David Bates and Fashion Sakala keep their eye on the ball.

GOING DOWN…Sakala hits the turf as Bates prepares to boot the ball clear.

“I can’t see any foul at all, so in my mind it wasn’t a penalty. From where John was it must have looked like David Bates knocked Fashion Sakala off his stride when he was going for the header.

“The defender might have been wrong side, but he has to be somewhere. It’s not as if he can disappear, so he’s going to be somewhere.

“But he certainly didn’t impede the Rangers player. John wouldn’t have guessed – he will have called it the way he saw it and from his position he would have assumed the Aberdeen player knocked the Rangers player off his stride.

“And because David Bates was on the wrong side, John has just misinterpreted what happened.

“That was the only thing I could see from John’s angle, but there wasn’t a foul. It’s as simple as that. So, it wasn’t a penalty.

‘NO DOUBT JOHN BEATON WOULD HAVE CHANGED HIS MIND’…ex-ref Steve Conroy insists VAR would have helped at Ibrox.

“I know people all joke about ‘penalty to Rangers’ all the time, but that could have happened to anyone.

“The guy was round the wrong side, there was an interaction between the two and John has just interpreted it the wrong way.”

Conroy added: “If we had VAR up and running that would have got John out of that predicament on Wednesday.

“And maybe that incident is an advert for introducing VAR in Scotland when they make their mind up on it.

“There is no doubt if VAR was already up and running then John Beaton would have changed his mind.

“Anyone looking at that on VAR wouldn’t have given and it’s inevitable it will be introduced in Scotland.

PAYING THE PENALTY…James Tavernier thumps in the controversial award.

“And as long as we get the interpretation right and get everyone trained up on it and use it the way they do in the Champions League and English Premier League then it will be a big benefit to us.”

Conroy quit top level refereeing in 2012. Ironically, he had been overlooked for a top-level game for three months following a penalty-kick decision concerning Rangers.

He awarded the Light Blues a penalty kick when Sone Aluko went down in the box, but an SFA fast-track tribunal subsequently banned the Gers player for two matches for diving.


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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