Why John Beaton and VAR handed Celtic a penalty vs Rangers as former ref fumes 'farce' after Ibrox flashpoint

Referee John Beaton is in charge of the Rangers v Celtic match.Referee John Beaton is in charge of the Rangers v Celtic match.
Referee John Beaton is in charge of the Rangers v Celtic match.
Rangers had a nightmare first half in the third derby of the season vs Celtic.

Rangers have had a penalty decision go against them vs Celtic - but what is the definitive verdict on Connor Goldson’s handball?

Referee John Beaton was called over to the monitor by VAR after a ball into the Ibrox box. Daizen Maeda had put Brendan Rodgers’ side ahead in bizarre fashion when challenging a James Tavernier pass forward, and the Hoops had dominated the rest of the first half.

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Another Celtic charge forward needed a Goldson intervention but Beaton was called to the monitor, where the ball was shown to strike the Rangers defender’s arm on second inspection. There are situations where the ball striking the arm in the box is not deemed a spot-kick, but the IFAB laws provide clear guidance on how this one should have been given.

They state: “Handball is the illegal contact/touch of the ball with the hand(s) and/or arm(s). However, it is not automatically a handball offence every time the ball touches a player’s hand/arm. A handball offence is when a player (except the goalkeeper in their own penalty area): deliberately touches the ball with their hand/arm.

“Touches the ball with their hand/arm when it is in a position that makes their body unnaturally bigger and when that position is not the result of their body moving fairly as part of play scores a goal against the other team with their hand/arm or scores immediately after the ball touches their hand/arm (even if the touch was accidental).

“The hand and the arm below the bottom of the armpit are the parts of the body used for a possible handball offence. A handball is punished with a direct free kick (or a penalty if the handball offence occurs in the player’s own penalty area).”

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Celtic hero Chris Sutton on Sky Sports co-commentary duty was clear in his verdict. He said: “It’s an easy decision for him. How clear does it have to be?”

Former referee Steve Conroy meanwhile fumed to the Daily Record: “Handball is a farce. That should never be a penalty, but it absolutely is in the current climate.”