CHRIS Sutton has claimed that, if social media photographs which picture referee John Beaton in a pub in the immediate aftermath of the festive clash between Rangers and Celtic are genuine, that the whistler is guilty of “sheer stupidity.”

Online snaps appear to show Beaton, who has been caught in a post-match storm for his decision to stand by his call not to sanction Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos for a series of illegal challenges in the game, posing for pictures in the Crown Bar in Bellshill.

Beaton was forced to call in police after his personal details were leaked online while Celtic issued a statement in the wake of the SFA announcement that he has seen the incidents with Morelos during the game but did not believed them to be worthy of sanction.

The photographs are believed to have come on the back of the game at Ibrox which Rangers won 1-0 and Sutton has questioned Beaton’s decision making.

Evening Times:
Premier Sports announces its new on-air presenting team for the upcoming William Hill Scottish Cup ties with Chris Sutton (left) and Mark Hateley

“I don’t know whether that is a valid photo,” said Sutton. “I don’t know.

“If you are telling me that he was photographed on the day in the pub then that is just sheer stupidity on his behalf. If that is true. I mean it is difficult.

“The truth of it is that if you are born in Glasgow then you are one side or the other. There are issues there. If he was photographed in the Rangers pub then you can understand Celtic fans feeling the way some of them do.

“I don’t think we can all sit here – and this is the first time I have heard it validated – and think that it is a sensible thing to do if you are refereeing in an Old Firm game to then go into a Celtic pub or a Rangers pub because it shows an allegiance.

Evening Times:

“That is just sheer stupidity but I will say that the stuff and the threats which have happened are ridiculous but he hasn’t helped himself there.”

It emerged this week that Sutton received a death threat following his own outspoken views on the game but he has insisted that it will not deter him from speaking his mind.

“It is one of those things,” he said. “ Since I have been up here and I have made mistakes but I try and speak and say what I think. If people take umbrage with that then that is their lookout but threats are another thing. It is more for my family that it’s not nice because they worry about it but I don’t think that really it will change my views on things. We all have our opinions on things. I respect other people’s opinions. "I engage with people who want to have a sensible argument on social media but when things overstep the mark that is another thing, isn’t it.”

Chris Sutton will be part of the Premier Sports team which will broadcast the Scottish Cup this season.