Watch Saudi Arabia's World Cup hero attempt to headbutt Scottish referee John Beaton

Salem Al-Dawsari was the Saudi Arabia hero after his spectacular winning goal shocked Argentina at the World Cup in Qatar – seven years after attacking Scottish referee John Beaton.

Referee John Beaton was attacked by Saudi Arabia World Cup hero Salem Al-Dawsari back in 2015. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Referee John Beaton was attacked by Saudi Arabia World Cup hero Salem Al-Dawsari back in 2015. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

The Al Hilal midfielder wrote himself into World Cup folklore as he curled home from the edge of the box to seal a famous 2-1 win for the Saudis over Lionel Messi and co in one of the greatest upsets in the tournament's history.

But back in 2015 the player made headlines for all the wrong reasons when he attempted to headbutt Beaton during a match after the SFA whistler had been flown out to officiate the Riyadh derby.

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Beaton brandished eight yellow and three red cards in a bad-tempered clash at the 62,685-seater King Fahd International Stadium as Al Nassr defeated Al Hilal 1-0 to secure the Saudi Premier League title.

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The final red card was shown to Al-Dawsari in the seventh minute of added time after he had squared up to Beaton before pushing his head into the official’s face. Players from both sides then had to step in to try and restrain Al-Dawsari as he attempted to lunge at Beaton following the final whistle.

Al Hilal fined Al-Dawsari a month’s wages following the incident while he was banned for six games by the Saudi FA.

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He later issued a grovelling apology stating: “I would like to sincerely apologise to the referee for my actions in the game against Al Nasr. Also, I owe my team-mates, my club and our supporters an apology too.

“I made a terrible error but the mistake will never be repeated.”

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Beaton needed extra security after the match as he left the Saudi capital to return to Scotland.

"It sounds more dramatic than it was but we had about 10 security guards lead us off the pitch, all wearing standard-issue suits and ties and radios,” Beaton said.

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“I have to say though that for all the tension during the game – and you have to factor in this was effectively a title decider between two teams who have a history of intense rivalry – there were zero issues afterwards.

“The Saudi Arabian Football Federation could not have done any more to make us feel safer on the way back to the hotel and then the airport.

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It’s safe to say this kind of thing has never happened to me before but I’m happy I handled it the right way.

“In these situations it is important to keep calm and make the correct decision.”

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