A goalless draw between Hamilton Accies and St Mirren doesn’t usually fall into the memorable matches category and, on the face of it, it doesn’t sound like a classic match report to write or read.

But the meeting between those two at New Douglas Park in November 2010 can be recalled for one simple reason: the referee. On this day in question, it was Israeli Meir Levy.

The New Douglas Park stalemate was one of just four top flight matches that went ahead – the others being Celtic versus Inverness, Hibernian versus St Johnstone and Kilmarnock versus Aberdeen – as the officials’ strike and winter weather all but wiped out the domestic card.

Whistlers from Malta and Luxembourg were also drafted in after Scottish referees opted to withdraw their services following weeks of criticism and headlines. It was an embarrassment for our game and a sorry scenario that should never have been allowed to unfold.

But are we in danger of getting to that stage again? Is there a fear that our officials will keep their cards and whistles in their drawer one day and refuse to take to the field again?

The strike of 2010 came about after the now infamous scandal involving Dougie McDonald and that penalty decision at Tannadice.

It led to John Reid, then Celtic chairman, claiming that McDonald’s position was ‘completely untenable’, while SNP sport spokesman Pete Wishart called for referees to declare what team they support.

After the match officials voted overwhelmingly for industrial action, Kenny Clark claimed Reid’s comments had ‘put the tin lid on it’ and warned it was ‘only a matter of time before a referee or a member of his family is physically attacked because of how it's being whipped up.’

Nine years on, everyone in our game – from chairmen to supporters – should take that message on board yet again and consider their actions before it is too late.

The debate over the level of refereeing in Scotland will never go away but talk of conspiracy theories and bias certainly doesn’t help the situation. Pandering to the lowest common denominator with baseless accusations will only raise intolerance, not standards.

After two seasons of dominance and seven trophies on the spin, it has taken one Old Firm defeat for some Celtic supporters to put their tinfoil hats on again and take to the internet with far-fetched concepts. Others with a higher profile really should know better.

For most rational people, it is easy to ignore the lunatic fringe. But John Beaton certainly can’t after he was forced to call in the cops after his contact details were shared on the web and he was bombarded with abuse.

Ian Maxwell, the Scottish FA chief executive, spoke of his ‘dismay’ at the situation in a statement on Saturday and all right-thinking fans of our game will surely share those sentiments.

Our referees may not be the best at what they do, but a wrong red card decision or failure to spot an offside shouldn’t lead to a campaign against them. It can only be hoped that the perpetrators are found and dealt with appropriately.

When matches are lost and points dropped, whistlers become an easy target for managers, players and supporters but the outcry over Beaton’s performance at Ibrox has been predictably over the top, and that can then lead into the disgraceful actions of those who think it is acceptable to abuse and vilify the 36-year-old.

There were few mentions of the incidents involving Alfredo Morelos on the day but what used to be labelled ‘trial by Sportscene’ has become ‘trial by Twitter’ as momentum has built against Beaton and each phase of play has been pored over and analysed.

While issues remain as partisan, while some of the rhetoric remains as fierce, no solutions will be found to help referees make fewer mistakes week in, week out.

If Beaton woke up this morning and decided all the flak and harassment wasn’t worth it and retired from the game, who could blame him?

Or if the man that draws the short straw and gets handed the next Old Firm game at Parkhead thinks it is more hassle than it is worth, who could blame him?

Maxwell’s statement over the weekend ended with a call to support and respect our match officials and discussions will be held with clubs shortly in an attempt to resolve an array of issues.

It is a time for cool heads and for the heat to be taken out of the situation. If it escalates once again, history could well repeat itself in Scotland.