Former colleague details why John Beaton was 'wrong' to give Rangers penalty against Aberdeen

Former Scottish FA referee Steve Conroy believes his old colleague John Beaton was wrong to award Rangers a penalty in the dying minutes of their 2-2 draw with Aberdeen on Wednesday.

Aberdeen's Scott Brown complains to referee John Beaton during the 2-2 draw with Rangers at Ibrox. Picture: SNS
Aberdeen's Scott Brown complains to referee John Beaton during the 2-2 draw with Rangers at Ibrox. Picture: SNS

The hosts were trailing 2-1 when Dons centre-back David Bates was adjudged to have fouled Fashion Sakala, allowing Ibrox captain James Tavernier to level the match from the penalty spot on an emotional night at Ibrox Stadium following the death of legendary Light Blues manager Walter Smith.

The decision was the hot topic of debate in Scottish football circles with pundits split over whether the contact from the Aberdeen defender, who was seen to have a pull of Sakala’s shirt, was enough to justify a foul.

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Conroy, who refereed in the Scottish top flight for several years before retiring in 2012, doesn’t even believe the decision is close as he insists there was no foul committed by the Scottish international as he sought to explain Beaton’s rationale.

He told the Daily Record: “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.

“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.”

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