It’s clear to see why Beaton thought it appropriate to send off Ryan Jack for butting heads with Anthony Stokes. From his angle (picture one) he’s looking at Jack from behind. In the two angles provided by the TV cameras - one from the side, one from behind Jack - it is the one from behind where the trusting of the head towards Anthony Stokes is most apparent. Usually as soon as a player makes a thrust like that, you expect a red card.
Under the rules, a player can get away with such an action if the contact is deemed “negligible”. Critics would argue that’s the case in this instance, but from the referee’s vantage point it definitely looks like using “excessive force...against an opponent when not challenging for the ball.”
What’s not clear is why Beaton doesn’t think Stokes deserves at least a yellow for the altercation. Though Jack goes a little further in the end, Stokes initiates the original contact between the pair just as much as Jack. Even the putting of his hand on Jack’s throat should have been enough to earn a booking.
Beaton’s view of this, and the moment when the pair squared up to each other, looks like it may have been blocked (picture two). However, he moves over in time to see Jack thrust forward and should have been able to see that the two players were head-to-head prior to this, which again should have been enough for Stokes to receive a yellow card. It was strange that Beaton didn’t produce a yellow for the Hibs player. It usually goes the other way, where the ref might harshly punish a player on the opposite team just for the sake of “balance”.
Stokes was already on a booking after an incident involving James Tavernier, which many believe should have been a red card. I, on the other hand, think a yellow was fine. It looks bad in slow motion, but everything happens quite quickly when you watch it at regular speed. He pulls Tavernier back by the shirt and then grabs him backwards by the body. I don’t think there’s any intention to strike Tavernier with his arm. It seems like a wrestle rather than a punch or a hit of any sort.
It was probably was a foul on Stokes to begin with, and Beaton maybe could have helped by quickly giving a free-kick rather than letting play go on and risking a reaction, but of course if Stokes had broken free then Hibs wouldn’t have been happy about the lack of advantage.
Overall, in this observers opinion, there was only really one decision which Beaton got truly wrong. And that was his failure to show Stokes a second yellow, sending both teams down to ten men.
• Craig Anderson is a former fully qualified referee. He is also the man behind SPL Stats on Twitter.