Chris Sutton has become the first mainstream media source to discuss John Beaton being pictured in The Crown Bar in Bellshill following the Glasgow derby.
Pictures of the referee surfaced on social media within 48 hours of the match with the rundown Bellhill boozer known as ‘a right good blue nose’ venue.
There was no mainstream coverage of that matter which gave the digital community more opportunity to dig into Beaton’s choice of venue as fans of the tribute act celebrated their first derby day success in 13 attempts.
“I don’t know whether that is a valid photo,” Sutton told the Evening Times. “I don’t know. If you are telling me that he was photographed on the day in the pub then that is just sheer stupidity on his behalf. If that is true. I mean it is difficult.
“The truth of it is that if you are born in Glasgow then you are one side or the other. There are issues there. If he was photographed in the Rangers pub then you can understand Celtic fans feeling the way some of them do.
“I don’t think we can all sit here – and this is the first time I have heard it validated – and think that it is a sensible thing to do if you are refereeing in an Old Firm game to then go into a Celtic pub or a Rangers pub because it shows an allegiance.
“That is just sheer stupidity but I will say that the stuff and the threats which have happened are ridiculous but he hasn’t helped himself there.”
Last Thursday SFA Compliance Officer Clare Whyte informed preferred media sources that no action would be taken against Alfredo Morelos despite what appeared to be three red card offences going unpunished.
A day later Celtic issued a statement calling for the publication of the referee’s match report which was quickly followed by claims of abusive messages sent to Beaton.
The Lanarkshire Referees Association supplied three of the four match officials at Ibrox with the other being extreme right-wing Tory MP Douglas Ross.