Scottish League Cup: Thomson and Clancy to referee semi-finals

Craig Thomson will handle his 13th Old Firm derby while Kevin Clancy will referee his first domestic cup semi-final in this weekend’s Betfred Cup last-four ties at Hampden Park.

Chosen ones: Thomson (left) and Clancy have been handed the responsibility to oversee the 2016 League Cup last-four ties (Pictures from BBC Scotland and Sky Sports)

CRAIG Thomson and Kevin Clancy have been confirmed as the referees for this weekend’s Scottish League Cup semi-finals at Hampden Park.

Thomson will be in the middle for the Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic on Sunday (KO 14:05 BST).

Meanwhile, Clancy has been selected to officiate Premiership side Aberdeen against Championship outfit Greenock Morton on Saturday (KO 12:15 BST).

Both ties will be televised live on BT Sport.

The perennial Old Firm whistler…

Craig Thomson (Rangers v Celtic Scottish Cup semi - 17th April 2016)
For the big occasion: It will be Thomson’s 17th domestic match at Hampden and his 10th cup semi-final (Picture from Sky Sports)

It may be an unlucky number for some but Thomson will be hoping it will bring him some fortune as he prepares for his 13th Old Firm derby – no other referee has handled more than five.

His first derby came back in 2006 and he has since built up a wealth of experience in handling Scottish football’s most explosive duel in cup finals, crucial league encounters and, more recently, semi-final battles.

It will be the third season in a row the Fifa whistler, who went to Euro 2012, will manage a cup semi-final between the sides at the national stadium – after Celtic’s 2-0 League Cup win in 2015 and Rangers’ Scottish Cup win on penalties earlier this year.

David McGeachie and Alan Mulvanny will assist Thomson, with Steven McLean taking the fourth official reins.

Longest-serving: Thomson has officiated in Scotland’s top-flight since 2002 and appointed Fifa status a year later (Picture from Sky Sports)

It was widely expected McLean or Bobby Madden might be entrusted with their first Old Firm derbies as Thomson and Willie Collum – who oversaw his third when Celtic thrashed Rangers 5-1 last month – are the only officials among the current crop to have previously refereed the fixture.

But, with a place in November’s Betfred Cup Final at stake, they have called on the vastly experienced Thomson to make the decisions for the latest meeting of Glasgow’s biggest rivals.

The former lawyer, from Renfrewshire, oversaw the League Cup final meeting between the sides in 2011 – awarding Rangers a penalty before reversing his decision and sending off Celtic’s Emilio Izaguirre in an eventual 2-1 win for the Ibrox side.

Earlier this season, he was involved in a bitter spat with pundit Chris Sutton, who called him a ‘bottler’ after opting not to send off Rangers midfielder Harry Forrester for a second bookable offence in their 2-1 win at Dundee.

Meanwhile, a week later and also in front of the BT cameras, Thomson refused to co-operate with the broadcaster’s staff before starting the second half of Celtic’s 4-2 win at St Johnstone more than a minute ahead of schedule.

They are the only occasions Thomson, who has handled three Scottish Cup and three League Cup Finals, has encountered either of the Old Firm sides this term.

The 44-year-old handled Copenhagen’s 4-0 win over Club Brugge in last month’s Champions League group match and the Netherlands’ 4-1 victory over Belarus in a World Cup qualifier earlier this month.

But he has only refereed one previous League Cup tie this season – Aberdeen’s last-gasp 1-0 victory over St Johnstone at Pittodrie in the quarter-finals.

Overall, Thomson has issued 51 yellow cards, sent off three players and awarded four penalties in 12 games across five different competitions so far this term.


Celtic fans have been particularly vocal on social media, expressing their disappointment that the Scottish FA have again looked towards Thomson to keep the peace in the Glasgow derby…

Another step in Clancy’s burgeoning reputation…

Kevin Clancy before the 2016 Scottish League Cup Final
Footnote: Clancy is widely regarded as a lenient and respectable referee who keeps control of games well and rarely attracts controversy (Picture from BBC Scotland)

Despite several appearances as a fourth official and additional assistant, it will only be the second time Clancy steps out as referee at the national stadium.

The Glasgow-born whistler will still have fond memories of his previous visit after overseeing his first major final in last season’s League Cup showpiece, booking only two players as Ross County beat Hibernian 2-1.

He was also in the middle for Rangers’ shock 1-0 defeat by Raith Rovers in the 2014 Challenge Cup Final at Hibs’ Easter Road.

Surprisingly, it will be the 32-year-old’s first ever domestic cup semi as referee too – in this his fifth season officiating in Scotland’s top-flight.

Former lawyer Clancy has previously been the fourth official for the 2013 and 2015 League Cup Final – as well as Ross County’s 3-1 semi-final win over Celtic last term, which was refereed by Thomson.

He was also an additional assistant referee in the 2014 Scottish Cup Final at Celtic Park and Rangers’ Scottish Cup semi win over Celtic on penalties, as well as European games such as the 2015 Uefa Super Cup.

But the Renfrewshire-based official missed out on a place in Willie Collum’s team of officials for Euro 2016 last summer, with Bobby Madden and John Beaton selected for the role.

Kevin Clancy (Dundee v Dundee Utd - 2nd January 2016)
Big games: Clancy has handled several Europa League matches as well as Dundee and Edinburgh derbies domestically (Picture from Sky Sports)

Clancy has encountered both sides once in league games this term – issuing seven yellows in Aberdeen’s goalless draw with Hearts in August and booking six players in Morton’s 2-1 victory over Dunfermline.

It will be his fifth League Cup tie of the campaign after Partick Thistle’s 1-0 win at Airdrieonians, Dundee’s 6-2 victory over Dumbarton, Alloa’s 1-0 success at Raith Rovers, and Celtic’s 5-0 win over Motherwell in the last 16 phase.

Overall, Clancy has brandished 54 yellow cards, sent off Kilmarnock’s Greg Taylor in their 1-1 draw with Rangers in August, and pointed to the penalty spot three times in 13 matches in all competitions.

Clancy first took up the whistle in 2000 and was admitted to the Scottish FA five years later before overseeing his first SPL match in 2012.

Such was his fast progression, he was even recognised by Fifa – one of seven currently from Scotland on the list – before his promotion to the top-flight had been confirmed.

Among Clancy’s other high-profile appointments was the Championship play-off semi first leg between Hamilton Accies and Falkirk in 2014 and Queen’s Park’s League One play-off second leg win over Clyde last term.

At Hampden, he will be assisted by Alastair Mather and Gordon Crawford, while Euan Anderson will be on electronic board duties as fourth official.

2014 winners Aberdeen have complained about the scheduling of the tie, with the lunchtime kick-off not giving enough time for their travelling support to make the trip from the north east.

Scottish Premiership: Willie Collum to referee Inverness v Rangers

Willie Collum will be in the middle for Rangers’ televised Friday night trip to the Highlands as the Scottish Premiership resumes after the international break.

Visits: Collum, who will oversee his third domestic TV match of the season, oversaw Inverness’ home games against Celtic and Aberdeen last term (Picture from Sky Sports)

WILLIE Collum will be the man in the middle for Rangers’ Scottish Premiership match with Inverness Caley Thistle on Friday night.

The Euro 2016 whistler will make the decisions as the Gers kick start the top-flight weekend in the Highlands in front of the BT Sport cameras (KO 19:45 BST).

It will be his first game involving the Glasgow side since their 5-1 hammering by Celtic in last month’s Old Firm derby.

Although Collum was widely regarded to have had a good game, Mark Warburton was frustrated by what he felt was a clear second yellow card for Celtic’s Mikael Lustig for a crunching challenge on Barrie McKay.

One of his two red cards was shown to Philippe Senderos on his Gers debut for two bookable offences at Celtic Park, with the other in Napoli’s 2-1 victory at Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League group stages.

As was the case for the Old Firm, his assistants at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium will be Fifa-listed duo Frank Connor and Douglas Ross, with Steven Reid on fourth official duties.

It’s been a typically busy start to the campaign for the 37-year-old, who has handled 13 games in all competitions this season – brandishing 44 yellow cards and awarding four penalties.

Willie Collum referee (Motherwell v Celtic - 9th April 2016)
Keeping a low profile: Collum is no stranger to moments of controversy but has largely stayed out of the spotlight in recent months (Picture from Sky Sports)

He had a couple of tough decisions to make in St Mirren’s 2-1 win at Hibernian in the Irn Bru Cup fourth round last weekend – awarding a dubious free-kick for Saints’ equaliser before overruling an offside flag for David Clarkson’s late winner.

As the Religious Education teacher prepares for his sixth Premiership game of the campaign, he has awarded penalties in his previous two top-flight games – for Motherwell in their 4-2 derby win over Hamilton and, controversially, Aberdeen in their 4-0 victory at Kilmarnock.

Collum was slated by fans on social media after harshly penalising Jamie MacDonald for a perceived foul on James Maddison, which led to the Dons’ opening goal at Rugby Park.

He oversaw the biggest game in Inverness’ history in their 2015 Scottish Cup Final victory over Falkirk, despite sending off Caley Thistle defender Carl Tremarco for hauling down Blair Alston on 75 minutes.

The Lanarkshire official became more lenient last term, with his card count coming down as he enjoyed another busy campaign with 49 matches in total – including the prestigious Uefa Super Cup in Tbilisi.

Collum will make his first trip to Inverness since enduring a difficult night in February in the hosts’ 3-1 win over Aberdeen, who he upset in particular for awarding a controversial penalty against Ash Taylor.

Willie Collum blows for full-time (Uefa Super Cup - 11th August 2015)
In the middle: Collum is no stranger to high-profile games with a wealth of domestic and international experience (Picture from BT Sport)

It was one of several high-profile blunders which led to him being dropped from officiating Premiership fixtures for several weeks, but he responded positively at the Euros in France in the summer.

Father-of-three Collum, who has been a Fifa referee since 2006, went as Scotland’s only representative for his first major international tournament as a referee and left filled with pride in his team’s performances.

He officiated Turkey’s 2-0 win over the Czech Republic and France’s 2-0 victory against Albania – brandishing eight yellow cards, no reds and awarding no penalties before being sent home after the group stages.

Collum will be hoping to avoid more negative headlines – the same fate suffered by Don Robertson when the other half of the Old Firm, Celtic, visited Inverness last month.

Caley Thistle skipper Richie Foran criticised Robertson’s failure to send off Erik Sviatchenko for what he thought was a last-man foul on Ross Draper in their 2-2 draw against the champions.

Fifth-placed Rangers, who trail leaders Celtic by seven points, could go joint second before their rivals play on Saturday but eighth-placed Inverness can move level on points with the Gers with a win.

You can see the rest of the SPFL match official appointments for the weekend here.

SkyBet Football League: Referee Deadman to return to the middle

Darren Deadman will take charge of two League One games in the next seven days despite a controversial display in Oxford United’s win at Wimbledon last weekend.

No-nonsense: Deadman, who is often found in Leagues One and Two, has often been accused of lacking common sense and rushing to utilise his cards (Picture from Sky Sports)

CONTROVERSIAL referee Darren Deadman will return to the middle this weekend, despite being heavily scrutinised for a poor display during Wimbledon’s 3-1 win at Oxford United last Sunday.

The Cambridgeshire whistler incurred the wrath of Oxford fans for a series of crucial decisions which went against their team and failed to take control of the match from the start.

But their anger is now likely to intensify after it was revealed on Monday he will be back on the pitch in League One, as soon as this Saturday.

Deadman has been appointed to take charge of Charlton Athletic’s match against struggling Coventry City at the Valley.

And, if that wasn’t bad enough, he will also be in the middle for Bolton Wanderers’ trip to face Millwall at the New Den next Tuesday night in the third-tier.

Despite his wealth of experience, the Peterborough-based official’s card-happy and strict line has not won him many supporters during his 11 years in the Football League.

In an interview in 2011, he described his approach as “firm but fair” and said he is unfazed by headlines such as ‘Dead Man Walking’ in reference to decisions which are unpopular with fans and managers alike.

Deadman, who was once in contention for promotion to the Premier League panel of referees, has long since harboured a reputation for not taking any prisoners and applying the letter of the law.

But he appeared to go against his usual principles at the Kassam Stadium, despite issuing just five yellow cards.

He let a number of strong and robust challenges go unpunished, including an early one by Wimbledon striker Tom Elliott which could have seen red, and was largely inconsistent with his decision-making throughout.

Oxford should have been awarded a first-half penalty when Chris Maguire was clearly tripped by Barry Fuller – and justifiably had reason to believe Wimbledon’s second goal shouldn’t have stood after Dean Parrett’s dangerous challenge in the build-up, despite his unobscured position.

He wasn’t a popular figure on the terraces, with followers of both teams making their feelings clear through a number of chants aimed at him.

Other role: Deadman has also been fourth official for a number of Premier League and key Championship games during his career (Picture from Sky Sports)

Many supporters expressed their dissatisfaction with the standard of officiating on Twitter and felt he should be spared from duty, with some even calling for him to be removed from the list altogether.

But they haven’t been granted their wish as Deadman, who was overlooked for the newly-formed Select Group 2 in the summer, prepares for two more games in the next seven days.

And he will hope he’s not the centre of attention again – otherwise there may be some more criticism heading his way.

Deadman has, however, only brandished 47 yellow cards in 11 games in all competitions so far this season – as well as sending off Sheffield United’s Chris Basham before awarding the Blades a penalty in their 2-2 draw with Scunthorpe.

Like at the Kassam Stadium, he will be assisted for both of his upcoming games by linesman Andrew Aylott.

Deadman will also have Gavin Muge and fourth official Ian Cooper among his officials at the Valley on Saturday, with Stephen Finch his other assistant at the New Den and Dean Whitestone the fourth official.

Read more about who will take charge of the three Championship derbies this weekend here.

You can see a full list of SkyBet Football League match official appointments here.

SkyBet Football League: Linington, Coote and Scott to referee Championship derbies

James Linington, David Coote and Graham Scott will take charge of the Severnside, Midlands and Yorkshire derbies respectively in the SkyBet Championship this weekend in front of the Sky cameras.

New job: Linington gave up his day job as a self-employed plumbing and central heating engineer to become a full-time referee on the Select Group 2 over the summer (Picture from Sky Sports)

JAMES Linington will be the man in the middle for Friday night’s Severnside derby between Cardiff City and Bristol City.

The Isle of Wight official will be at the helm for Neil Warnock’s first game as Bluebirds boss when the fifth-placed Robins visit the Cardiff City Stadium to face the second-bottom team (KO 19:45, live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted by Steven Meredith (Nottingham) and Neil Davies (London), with Tim Robinson (west Sussex) on fourth official duties.

Linington encountered both sides in the first month of the season in the Championship.

The 37-year-old awarded QPR a late penalty to help them beat Cardiff 2-0 in south Wales in August, before booking eight players in Bristol City’s 3-1 victory over Aston Villa at Ashton Gate two weeks later.

Overall, he has issued 39 yellow cards, sent off one player and awarded three penalties in seven games this term – five of which have been in the Championship and two EFL Cup ties.

Linington was due to take charge of Derby’s televised match with Newcastle at the iPro Stadium last month but was injured in the warm-up and replaced by the fourth official, Darren Bond.

Linington has probably been the biggest beneficiary of the 18 referees who turned professional in Select Group 2 over the summer.

The Newport-based whistler has to travel the furthest to get to games by catching the ferry from Fishbourne port across the Solent before making the rest of his journey by car.

He will be hoping to stay on the right side of new Cardiff manager Warnock, who has had many a run-in with referees during his career despite being a qualified official himself.

Linington took up the whistle at the age of 14 before giving up football playing as a winger because he was told he was ‘not strong enough’.

He has been a Football League referee since 2008 – having spent two years as a Select Group linesman, during which he ran the line in the 2006 League One Play-Off Final at Cardiff’s Millenium Stadium.

But Linington’s biggest honour to date came when refereeing Dagenham & Redbridge’s 3-2 win over Rotherham in the 2010 League Two Play-Off Final at Wembley.

Taking control: It will be Coote’s seventh Championship game of the season this weekend, having only handled 10 in the whole of last season (Picture from Sky Sports)

David Coote has been confirmed as the referee for Aston Villa’s clash with Midlands rivals Wolves on Saturday.

The Select Group 2 official has been put in charge of the evening game at Villa Park when managerless Villa welcome Walter Zenga’s Wolves (KO 17:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).

Coote will be able to call upon the assistance of Shaun Hudson (Tyne & Wesr) and James Wilson (Cheshire), while Andy Madley (west Yorkshire) will be on electronic board duties as fourth official.

The West Yorkshire whistler has been among the busiest in the Football League so far this term, having refereed 11 games and been fourth official for nine others.

He has dished out an average of three yellow cards per match, sent off Reading’s Garath McCleary in their 2-1 win at Barnsley and pointed to the penalty spot three times.

Coote has never officiated an Aston Villa game before but was in the middle for Wolves’ 2-1 defeat against Leeds at Elland Road in April last season.

It will be his second TV game and major derby of the campaign after impressing in his first ever East Anglian derby at Portman Road in August – issuing just one booking in Ipswich’s 1-1 draw with Norwich.

Cricket-loving Coote, originally from Nottinghamshire, first took up the whistle at the age of 14 before progressing to become a Football League referee in 2010.

He has had five trips to Wembley as a match official – his most important as the man in the middle for the 2014 League One Play-Off Final when Rotherham beat Leyton Orient on penalties.

It will be the sides’ first meeting since Villa won 3-2 at Molineux in the Premier League in January 2012.

Graham Scott referee (Wolves v Derby - 27th Feb 2016)
Out of action: Scott only officiated 20 matches last season because of injury but 11 of them were in the Championship (Picture from Sky Sports)

Graham Scott has been assigned to Sunday’s Yorkshire derby between Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday.

The 48-year-old will be in charge as the current leaders host their south Yorkshire neighbours in what promises to be a competitive contest at the John Smith’s Stadium (KO 12:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted by Dave Bryan (Lincolnshire) and Matthew Wilkes (west Midlands), as well as fourth official Oliver Langford (west Midlands).

Scott will handle only his eighth match of the season – and fourth in the Championship so far.

He has brandished 26 yellow cards, sent off Gillingham’s Ryan Jackson in their 1-1 League One draw with Bradford, and awarded three spotkicks.

The Oxfordshire whistler was promoted to the Premier League after six seasons in the Football League in the summer of 2015.

But he has since received only six top-flight matches – with his only one this term coming last month in Tottenham’s 2-1 win at Middlesbrough, in which three players were cautioned.

It will be his second TV match of the season after putting in a good display in Leeds’ 2-0 win at Cardiff last month, also in the second-tier.

He awarded the visitors a spotkick under the new shirt-pulling directive at a crucial time after Matthew Connolly hauled down Pontus Jansson, which allowed Chris Wood to open the scoring at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The Abingdon-based official, who has also been fourth official for four games this season, encountered Huddersfield twice last season – in both of their West Yorkshire derbies against Leeds United.

He stayed under the radar during Leeds’ 3-0 win at the John Smith’s last November but booked eight players and awarded Huddersfield a penalty, which Nakhi Wells missed, in their 4-1 win at Elland Road back in March.

Scott controlled three Wednesday matches last term – their goalless draw with Derby in December, a 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest in which he dismissed Barry Bannan in March, and their memorable 3-0 triumph against Arsenal in the League Cup.



Darren Deadman will return to the middle this weekend, despite his poor display in Wimbledon’s 3-1 win at Oxford in League One last Sunday.

Read more about this story here.

You can view a full list of Football League match official appointments here.

Premier League Referees: Taylor, Marriner and Oliver in action in week eight

Anthony Taylor will oversee Manchester United’s eagerly-awaited Anfield trip while Michael Oliver and Andre Marriner will also be in charge of key games this weekend.

Links: Taylor, who is connected to Cheshire County FA, oversaw United against Merseyside opposition in Everton in last season’s FA Cup semi-final (Picture from BBC Sport)

ANTHONY Taylor has been confirmed as the referee for Manchester United’s heavyweight clash with Liverpool next Monday night.

The 37-year-old will take charge of his first game involving the two fierce rivals when Jose Mourinho comes up against Jurgen Klopp for the first time in the Premier League at Anfield (KO 20:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).

In one of the most eagerly-awaited clashes of the campaign, he will be ably assisted by Stephen Child (Kent) and Simon Bennett (Staffordshire), with Martin Atkinson (west Yorkshire) on fourth official duties.

Bennett has run the line in a United game already this season – their 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester City.

Child, meanwhile, was one of the referee’s assistants in Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Chelsea last month.

It will be seen by many as a controversial appointment, with much being made of the fact Manchester-born Taylor is from Wythenshawe, in Greater Manchester, and supports non-league Altrincham – who are based just six miles away from Old Trafford.

There has also been unconfirmed reports that Taylor’s wife is a Manchester United fan.

Anthony Taylor watches on (Newcastle v Sunderland - 21st Dec 2014)
High-profile: Taylor has officiated a number of key Premier League games, including Merseyside and Tyne-Wear derbies (Picture from Sky Sports)

In the wake of Leicester fan Kevin Friend being removed from a Spurs game, Everton supporters called for Taylor to be taken off their FA Cup semi-final against United last season.

Taylor did award the Toffees a debatable spotkick in the second half, which Romelu Lukaku missed, but performed well during United’s 2-1 victory at Wembley in April.

Meanwhile, former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was fined £8,000 in December 2013 after questioning the decision to allow Bolton referee Lee Mason to officiate their 2-1 defeat at Manchester City.

But, while former referees chief Keith Hackett has condemned the appointment as “grossly unfair” to Taylor, refereeing circles have largely welcomed the PGMOL’s decision to put an in-form official in charge.

Anthony Taylor referee (Community Shield ARS v CHE - 2nd Aug 2015)
Elevated: Taylor was promoted to the Select Group of referees in the summer of 2010 (Picture from BT Sport)

Taylor was in the middle for United’s 2-0 win over Southampton at Old Trafford in August, awarding the Reds a spotkick after Luke Shaw was tripped by Jordy Clasie which Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted.

Meanwhile, Fifa whistler Taylor – who went all the way to the Euro 2016 Final as an additional assistant referee – hasn’t encountered Liverpool since their 1-0 victory at Stoke in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final.

It will the first Liverpool game Taylor has officiated in the league in almost a year – since taking charge of their win over Swansea last November.

He has taken charge of seven top-flight matches so far this season – more than any other Premier League referee – dishing out 23 yellow cards and awarding two penalties.

Taylor – who officiated both the League Cup Final and Community Shield at Wembley in 2015 – also handled Bayern Munich’s 5-0 opening Champions League group stage victory over Rostov last month.

He was in the media spotlight for sending Stoke City boss Mark Hughes to the stands during their 4-0 defeat at home to Tottenham last month.

Taylor will also be the fourth official for Saturday’s Premier League match between the other Manchester and Merseyside teams, Manchester City and Everton, at the Etihad Stadium.

United have won the last four Premier League games between the two sides, although Liverpool were victorious in the most recent meeting at Anfield – a 2-0 triumph in last season’s Europa League.

United sit sixth after seven matches, three points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.

Andre Marriner in action (Arsenal v Man City - 21st Dec 2015)
Indifferent: Marriner has enjoyed a mixed start to the season but has already received some crucial games (Picture from Sky Sports)

Andre Marriner will be in the middle for Chelsea’s televised encounter with Leicester City on Saturday lunchtime.

The 45-year-old, from the west Midlands, will take charge as the two previous champions meet at Stamford Bridge in the first Premier League match of the weekend (KO 12:30 BST, live on Sky Sports).

The assistant referees will be Simon Beck (Bedfordshire) and Andy Garratt (west Midlands), while the fourth official is Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).

Marriner has overseen nine games in all competitions this term – five of which have come in the Premier League.

He has so far brandished 40 yellow cards, sent off five players and awarded six penalties.

During the international break, the Sheldon-based whistler handled Israel’s 2-1 World Cup qualifying victory at Macedonia – dishing out four yellows, sending off Israel defender Tal Ben Haim and awarding Macedonia a stoppage-time penalty which was saved.

Marriner will be hoping to have a better game than the last time he encountered Chelsea, when he endured a difficult match in their 2-2 draw at Swansea last month.

The Birmingham-born official gave seven yellow cards, awarded the Swans a spotkick and allowed Leroy Fer’s goal to stand despite him appearing to foul Gary Cahill twice in the build-up.

The angry Blues defender insisted the infringements could be seen ‘from the moon’ and revealed he had been to the dressing room to speak to Marriner after the game.

Marriner, however, bounced back with an impressive display in Tottenham’s 2-0 victory over Manchester City at White Hart Lane.

Meanwhile, he will encounter Leicester for the first time since their first game after being crowned unlikely Premier League champions – awarding two penalties to the Foxes in their 3-1 win over Everton in May.

Michael Oliver referee (Man United v Leicester - 1st May 2016)
Stricter approach: Oliver has been one of the most card-happy referees in the Premier League so far in 2016-17 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Michael Oliver has been assigned to Manchester City’s match against Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Fifa whistler, from Northumberland, will make the decisions as Pep Guardiola’s league leaders look for their first win in three games against the Toffees.

He will be assisted by Gary Beswick (County Durham) and Stuart Burt (Northamptonshire), with Anthony Taylor (Cheshire) the fourth official.

Oliver will take charge of his 11th match of the campaign across three different competitions – having brandished 39 yellows, one red card in a Champions League qualifier in July, and awarded five penalties.

One of those spotkicks was controversially given in his last Everton game in August, which led to the only goal in their 1-0 victory over Stoke at Goodison Park and upset Stoke boss Hughes.

Indeed, Everton have lost just one of the last seven games that Oliver has taken charge of.

The Ashingdon-based whistler, who made his Champions League group stage debut last month in Sporting Lisbon’s 2-0 win over Legia Warsaw, will be fresh from handling Sweden’s 3-0 victory over Bulgaria on Monday in World Cup qualifying.

It will be the first time Oliver, who officiated Manchester City’s win over Liverpool on penalties in last season’s League Cup Final, will encounter the Blues since their 1-0 derby defeat by Manchester United in March.

As expected, the highly-rated Fifa referee has overseen a number of high-profile games already this term – including Liverpool’s 4-3 win at Arsenal and the Gunners’ 3-0 win over Chelsea.

He was criticised by United boss Jose Mourinho for some decisions in their 3-1 defeat at Watford before booking Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge for diving and awarding the Reds a late spotkick in their 2-1 win at Swansea prior to the international break.

You can view the rest of the Premier League match official appointments here.

Oxford United 1-3 AFC Wimbledon: Fans fury as referee Deadman takes centre stage 

There was only one name on everyone’s lips after Wimbledon’s victory at Oxford in League One following a bizarre display from controversial referee Darren Deadman.

Lenient mood: Deadman’s approach was to allow strong challenges but a number of fouls were missed, despite him booking five players (Picture from Sky Sports)

ANYONE taking in AFC Wimbledon’s 3-1 victory over Oxford United in League One on Sunday afternoon will have witnessed a rather strange performance from referee Darren Deadman. 

The controversial official had an afternoon he would probably want to forget quickly at the Kassam Stadium as Oxford, in particular, were left to count the cost of a number of bizarre decisions.

The hosts will be aggrieved at having a cast-iron penalty turned down in the first half when Wimbledon skipper Barry Fuller clearly tripped Chris Maguire in the box.

Head coach Michael Appleton may also feel Tom Elliott could have been sent off for a robust challenge early on, which he was only booked for, before the Wimbledon striker opened the scoring.

To the amazement of most, the second Wimbledon goal was allowed to stand after what appeared to be a dangerous two-footed challenge from Dean Parratt on Wes Thomas, before Darius Charles curled home a stunning effort into the top corner.

In truth, Deadman, who is no stranger to controversy in his career, failed to take control from the start and allowed a number of robust challenges go without punishment.

He had a number of key decisions to make and many will argue he got the majority of them wrong – in what was another inconsistent display from a referee once touted for Premier League promotion.

Strangely, six minutes of added time were given at the end of the second half, during which Oxford fans cried “3-1 to the referee” – one of a number of chants aimed at the whistler who is bound to get stick anyway having hailed from Cambridgeshire.

But supporters of both sides, and indeed neutral viewers, were left aghast by the man in the middle’s performance…

Deadman is often colloquially known as “Dead Man Walking” by enraged supporters and he might want to avoid the streets of Oxford having been booed off after his latest poor showing.

Despite a series of contentious calls and Oxford having reason to be hard done by, Wimbledon merited their first ever victory over the U’s.

Elliott broke the deadlock with a close-range header before Charles curled in a wondergoal, with Deadman looking straight at what should have been a foul in the build-up, and Andy Barcham slotted in a third.

Charles turned Maguire’s cross into his own net early in the second half but it proved a mere consolation for Oxford, who lost their unbeaten home record this term against their fellow newly-promoted opponents.

World Cup 2018 Qualifiers: Referees Cakir, Marriner and Brych in action

Cuneyt Cakir and Tony Chapron will take charge of Wales and the Republic of Ireland respectively, while England’s Andre Marriner and Germany’s Felix Brych are also in action on Thursday night in the second round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

In the middle: (left to right) Cuneyt Cakir, Andre Marriner and Felix Brych will be making the decisions in their first 2018 World Cup qualifiers of the campaign

TURKISH referee Cuneyt Cakir will be making the decisions when Wales face Austria in their second 2018 World Cup qualifier on Thursday night.

Also in Group D, French official Tony Chapron will take charge of the Republic of Ireland’s clash with Georgia at the AVIVA Stadium.

England’s Andre Marriner will be in the middle for Macedonia against Israel, while German whistler Felix Brych has been assigned to the other Group D encounter between European heavyweights Italy and Spain.

Elsewhere, in Group I, Spain’s David Fernandez Borbalan will referee Croatia’s first-ever meeting with minnows Kosovo and Manuel Grafe of Germany will lead the team of officials for Turkey against Ukraine.

Experienced Istanbul disciplinarian Cakir has officiated at three major tournaments and crucial semi-final ties in Europe, as well as Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Juventus in the 2015 Champions League Final.

The insurance broker, who turns 40 next month, booked six players during Leicester’s 1-0 win over Porto in the Champions League last month.

Meanwhile, Chapron has handled a number of World Cup and European qualifiers since joining the Fifa list in 2007.

But the former educational adviser, 44, who has been officiating in France’s Ligue 1 since 2005, has only previously encountered one of the home nations – in Northern Ireland’s goalless draw with Italy in a Euro 2012 qualifier.

Marriner, 45, has been widely criticised for his domestic form already this season after failing to see Sergio Aguero’s elbow on Winston Reid and Leroy Fer’s double foul on Gary Cahill in the Premier League.

The West Midlands whistler is a regular in the Europa League and dished out nine yellows, three reds and awarded one penalty in Ajax’s 2-1 win at Panathinaikos last month in their first group game.

But, despite appearing at Euro 2016 as an additional assistant, he doesn’t have a wealth of international experience as a referee and will oversee only his third ever World Cup qualifier, having been on the Fifa list since 2009.

Brych, a doctor of law from Munich, has often attracted controversy for his card-happy approach but has received a number of high-profile appointments, including the 2014 Europa League Final and several European knockout ties.

The 41-year-old, who has been refereeing in the Bundesliga since 2004, went to the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 – where he took charge of England’s last-gasp 2-1 win over British rivals Wales in the group stages.

Italy beat Spain 2-0 in the last 16 of the tournament in France, having also met twice at Euro 2012 with Spain thrashing Italy 4-0 in the final in Kiev.

Borbalan, who is expected to step up since the retirement of Spanish colleague Carlos Velasco Carballo, has never ventured beyond the Champions League group stage or Europa League round of 32 during his six-year Fifa career thus far.

The Almeria-born entrepreneur, 43, who made his La Liga debut in September 2004, handled three qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup – including Scotland’s 1-0 victory in Croatia.

Meanwhile, sports scientist Grafe has encountered West Ham and Southampton already in this season’s Europa League and was in charge of Wales’ 2-1 victory over Cyprus in Euro 2016 qualifying.

The 43-year-old, from Berlin, who is now considered a prominent figure in the Bundesliga, has not been as involved on the international stage as he has in the Champions League and Europa League, with his senior debut not coming until 2010.

You can see a full list of match official appointments for Thursday’s qualifiers here.