Rodgers comfortable with 'top ref' Beaton in charge for Old Firm clash

The Celtic manager says Beaton is one of the best and most experienced referees in Scotland.

Brendan Rodgers says he has no issue with John Beaton being in charge of Sunday’s Old Firm and described the ref as “one of the best in the country”.

Celtic travel across the city to take on Rangers in a top of the table clash that could go along way to deciding who will be champions in May.

The appointment of Beaton raised some eyebrows due to the fact the Hoops boss is just back from a one-game ban for criticising his performance on VAR when they lost 2-0 to Hearts last month.

But Rodgers says his gripe was only about that one game and is comfortable with him being the man in the middle at Ibrox due to his experience of officiating big games.

Speaking to the media on Friday, the Celtic manager said: “For me, for John to be given the game, I think these games are for the top referees and I’ve always said that John Beaton is one of the top referees in the country.

“So he’s been allocated the game and I am comfortable with that, he’s refereed games when I have been there before.

“My point, like I said before, was for that one game, I wasn’t talking about John Beaton’s career as a referee, my gripe was only on that day.

“They will always have to appoint someone experienced for these games and John is one of the most experienced referees in Scotland.

“Naturally now there is focus on officials and naturally there will be that because the game is so scrutinised and obviously if you are on the field then your performance will always be looked at.

“Like it will be if you are sat on VAR as well, and it should be, because that is what they get paid for, they are accountable for decision making in the game.

“But I just think it is a natural part of the game now, whether that’s players of officials, there will be a real scrutiny on them.”

Celtic captain Callum McGregor was back in training with the squad this week after being out for just over a month injured.

And while he is expected to make his return against Rangers, Rodgers just fell short of confirming he will play a part and says a final call will be made on Saturday.

But he did admit that having skipper back would represent a big boost.

He said: “We will do one final run with Callum tomorrow, he has done remarkable to get back away ahead of schedule from what we first thought, but it just shows you his professionalism and how hard he has worked.

“So he will be involved in the squad and if he is (back) then it will be great news for us in every capacity and will mean we will have a clean bill of health for the first time this season really, but we will make a final call on that tomorrow.”

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