Before we get into this, let’s be clear that Rangers did not do enough to merit more than a point in Pittodrie, even if we should’ve had a penalty.

The Ibrox side was in cruise control for 30 minutes before an Aberdeen goal spooked us and the arse fell out of us. The 2-2 draw was a bad day at the office, and we move on.

But why – when he was all but three yards away – did John Beaton bottle what could be a potentially season-defining penalty call?

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Alfredo Morelos was clipped just inside the line of Aberdeen’s 18-yard box and John Beaton gave a free-kick a yard outside it.

The referee has also gone on to apologise to Steven Gerrard [Andy Newport] after the match for not awarding the penalty to Rangers.

 

Seriously.

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Ignoring the fact Beaton let Sam Cosgrove go over the ball on our players and see out the match, this was the defining call in the contest.

Beaton has been bullied – even from voices in the Scottish media such as Chris Sutton [Daily Record] – for not sending Alfredo Morelos off at Ibrox when we beat Celtic 1-0 in December last year.

John Beaton was hounded by Celtic fans and pundits who made him the scapegoat for Rangers beating them last season. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Then there was this inconspicuous photo of John Beaton in a pub, apparently celebrating the Rangers win.

This was incredibly paranoid and desperate stuff but it was given traction by the media.

It launched weeks of hysteria, spun up by the press and culminating in the man being targeted by rival supporters and needing police protection.

But the campaign against Beaton appears to have done the job.

Steven Gerrard will be bitterly disappointed with the match-defining decision. (Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

After all, it’s easier not to award Rangers the penalty and apologise afterwards than it is to avoid overwhelming criticism and be targeted for doing so.

Much like Rangers, Beaton’s bottle went in Pittodrie too.

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