Scottish referee John Beaton was happy with his reaction after being headbutted in a Saudi Arabian title decider. Beaton found himself at the eye of a storm after being drafted in by the Saudi football federation to take charge of the crucial Riyadh derby between Al Hilal and Al Nasr on Sunday.
The 33-year-old produced eight yellow cards and three reds as Al Nasr won 1-0 but the biggest flashpoint came deep into injury-time when Al Hilal midfielder Salem Al Dawsari reacted angrily to a foul being given against him. The player squared up to Beaton and, after several seconds of staring into the referee's eyes, stuck his head into the Scot's face. Beaton barely flinched and immediately issued a red card before Al Dawsari was dragged away by his team-mates. Beaton told the Scottish Football Association's official website: “It's safe to say this kind of thing has never happened before and I'm sure many referees have gone through entire careers without something like that to deal with. More than anything, I'm happy that I handled it the right way because it's something that comes as a complete surprise and you can't really prepare for an incident like that. The important thing in these situations is to keep calm, make the correct decision - which was to issue a red card - and then resume the match”. The Scotish referee was given extra security after the match but he encountered purely friendly attention. “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. “I have to say, though, that for all the tension during the game - and you have to factor in that this was effectively a title decider between two teams who have a history of intense rivalry - there were zero issues afterwards. The SAFF could not have done any more to make us feel safer on the way back to the hotel and then the airport. It was fairly quiet after the game. We went back to the hotel, ordered some food then analyzed the whole match again on DVD. When we got to the airport the only attention I got was a wee guy who supported Al Nasr wanting a selfie with me”.
Source: Daily Mail
Source: Daily Mail