Celtic legend Kenny Dalglish on Nick Walsh, John Beaton and the upcoming final vs Rangers

By John McGinley

February 19, 2023

Scottish football legend Kenny Dalglish has called on Nick Walsh and John Beaton to ‘bring their A-game’ in next week’s Scottish League Cup final contested by Celtic and Rangers.

Dalglish has been discussing VAR and refereeing issues for much of the season, previously seeking transparency from the Scottish FA and questioning whether the rules themselves as is, such as handball guidance, are up to scratch.

In his Sunday Post column today [19/02 print edition, Post Match supplement page 20], he again goes into the subject, reviewing last week’s drama at Ibrox in the Scottish Cup clash between Rangers and Partick Thistle, as well as previewing next Sunday’s final.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Huge final ahead for both clubs – and the referees

Nick Walsh is the man in the middle for that one, with John Beaton serving as the lead VAR official at Clydesdale House. It’s the first time VAR has been used in a national final in Scotland and naturally, there’s going to be scrutiny on those taking charge.

Dalglish said: “I just hope there are fewer controversies in the weeks ahead as we reach the business end of the season.

Next weekend is the League Cup Final between Celtic and Rangers. Nick Walsh is the match referee and John Beaton is the VAR. Both have had their difficulties this season but they need to be bang on in the Old Firm game. They need to bring their A-game to Hampden.

“I am in favour of VAR and I want to see it remain in the game. It is here to help our officials, not embarrass them. But technology isn’t the problem. The problems are arising from the humans making the decisions. It needs to be better.

“I also wish they could speed up the decision-making process. It’s taking far too long, sometimes three or four minutes. That’s totally unacceptable. So, still lots of work to be done. Everyone must do better.”

Everyone wants dull referees

Nothing would please me more if neither Walsh nor Beaton’s names were mentioned once in the wake of the final – whether Celtic win or lose.

VAR and refereeing has deservedly been under the spotlight this season, but it’s far better for everyone involved if there is no reason for them to be in the limelight.

Personally, I don’t hold out much hope for their ‘A-game’ at Hampden. But it’s better to be an optimist, I suppose. Dalglish will certainly be watching their performances closely.

In other news, Celtic on course to break goalscoring record that’s stood for over 100 years.