John Beaton and his assistants were unsure about whether to award Rangers a penalty or book Alfredo Morelos against Livingston on Wednesday, according to Stuart Lovell.
Morelos, 24, was booked in the first half after going down in the Livingston penalty area at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
However, replays show the Colombian was clearly brought down by Livi goalkeeper Max Stryjek.
Beaton and the other officials involved got the decision horribly wrong and the Gers should have been awarded a penalty that would have made things easier for them in a tough night on a plastic pitch in West Lothian.
But it seems that the whistler wasn’t even sure about what to give after Morelos went down with ex-Livi player Lovell claiming on Sky Sports Football at half-time that he spotted what was said between the officials.
“I suspect that (Morelos’ reputation) could have something to do with it. I was watching the referee at the time, we’re in a great spot here, within touching distance of the pitch and the incident,” said the Sky Sports pundit.
“I said I thought it was a penalty at full speed and I looked at the referee to see if he was talking to his assistants to get some guidance and clearly, whatever they said was, ‘I’m not sure,’ or, ‘I don’t think it was’.
“But when a guy’s going full speed like that and a goalkeeper comes out and effectively throws himself into the area the striker’s trying to get and doesn’t get the ball and clips the player, it’s a penalty kick. It’s definitely not a dive.”
They didn’t have a clue
Beaton blew his whistle as soon as Morelos hit the deck and one of two things went through his head.
He could have thought: “I don’t have a clue what happened there but hopefully the linesman does. Either way it’s a dive or a penalty.” Or, he might have been thinking: “It’s Morelos who’s gone down so it’s definitely a dive.”
Kris Boyd was furious with the notion that Beaton could have booked Morelos for his track record in Scottish football as he said at half-time: “They’re refereeing this game tonight. What’s happened in the past is irrelevant. You’re refereeing this game tonight.
“That is a stonewall penalty kick. End of story. It doesn’t matter whatever Alfredo Morelos has done in the past. That is a penalty kick.”
Boyd and Lovell have got it spot on.
It was nice to see Lovell on Sky Sports punditry duties on Wednesday night because even though he used to play for Livingston, he showed no sort of bias towards then and was very measured in his analysis and spoke very well.
It was also great to hear what he spotted the officials saying to each other because it says a lot about how they came to the decision Morelos dived.
At the end of the day, Morelos was fouled, Rangers were denied a clear penalty and Steven Gerrard was shown a red card because he was so incensed by the official getting it wrong.
Beaton has a lot to explain for himself after that because it was a shambles of a decision.
In other Rangers news, Jim White reacted instantly to the dramatic win on Wednesday night.