Scottish League Cup 2016: John Beaton to referee Aberdeen v Celtic final

The Fifa whistler will take charge of his first major final at Hampden Park when Aberdeen and Celtic compete for the Betfred Cup at Hampden Park on November 27.

John Beaton referee (Hibs v Dundee Utd - 16th April 2016)
Return: It will be Beaton’s first game at Hampden since the Scottish Cup semi between Hibs and Dundee United in April (Picture from BBC Scotland)

JOHN Beaton has been appointed as the referee for the 2016 Scottish League Cup Final at Hampden Park later this month.

The current top two in the Scottish Premiership will face off at the national stadium for the first domestic prize of the campaign in the Betfred Cup on Sunday, November 27 (KO 15:00 GMT, live on BT Sport).

It will be Beaton’s first major cup final although he was at the helm for Livingston’s 4-0 win over Alloa in the 2015 Challenge Cup showpiece at St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park.

Dougie Potter and Michael Banks will be his assistant referees, while Don Robertson has been named as the fourth official.

Beaton, who has 15 years of senior experience and has been a Fifa official since 2012, has already handled 19 games in all competitions this season.

He has so far brandished 91 yellow cards, sent off two players and awarded some 12 penalties – more than any other Scottish official.

His most recent outing was the 1-1 draw between Hibernian and Falkirk in the Championship, in which he booked five players and sent off Bairns midfielder Tom Taiwo against his old club early on at Easter Road.

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Preparation: Beaton will be alongside his cup final assistants for St Johnstone’s Premiership match with Ross County this weekend (Picture from Sky Sports)

The Lanarkshire-based whistler attracted criticism from Motherwell boss Mark McGhee and striker Scott McDonald after failing to award them a goal in their 2-0 defeat at Dundee earlier this month.

With the score goalless at Dens Park, Dundee goalkeeper David Mitchell stumbled over his goalline as he caught McDonald’s first-half cross – but neither Beaton nor assistant referee Ross Haswell signalled for a goal.

The 34-year-old has encountered both Aberdeen and Celtic twice each already in the top-flight.

He sent off Partick Thistle skipper Sean Welsh in the Dons’ 2-1 win in August, before awarding a contentious free-kick late on which led to their winning goal in their victory over Rangers a month later by the same scoreline and left Gers boss Mark Warburton raging at him on the pitch.

Meanwhile, Beaton dished out a massive 11 yellows in Celtic’s 2-1 victory at Hearts on the opening weekend and gave the hosts a dubious penalty as Jamie Walker was described as a “cheat” for taking an apparent dive.

It was a more straightforward afternoon for him when the Hoops beat Motherwell 2-0 exactly a month ago, in mid-October, but he did award Brendan Rodgers’s side a late penalty.

John Beaton explains decision (Dundee Utd v Dundee - 11th August 2015)
On the box: Beaton will take charge of his fifth match live on TV this season in all competitions (Picture from Sky Sports)

The two rivals, who have finished in the top two in each of the last three seasons, have also met twice this term – both ending in Celtic wins.

Bobby Madden was in the middle for their 4-1 victory at Parkhead in August, in which he sent off Dons defender Mark Reynolds and awarded the Hoops a late penalty.

While Steven McLean produced five yellow cards in a largely incident-free encounter at Pittodrie last month, in which Tom Rogic’s fine half-volley proved the difference for the visitors.

Beaton has been involved in plenty of controversial moments this season but has been rewarded for his efforts throughout his career with arguably his most high-profile appointment to date.

Earlier this term, he gave three penalties in 45 minutes to Dunfermline, all of which were saved by goalkeeper Cammy Bell in 10-man Dundee United’s 3-1 win at East End Park in the Championship.

And, in an eventful Premiership match between St Johnstone and Hearts, Beaton booked Saints strikers Chris Kane and Graham Cummins for diving and sent Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson to the stands for an apparent sarcastic clap towards him.

Beaton, from Motherwell, who first became a referee in 1997, has handled two League Cup semis, two Scottish Cup semis including one last season, and been an additional assistant referee for two Scottish Cup Finals.

But it will only be the third full game he will oversee at the national stadium, although he did take over in extra-time for Hibernian’s 4-3 Scottish Cup semi win over Falkirk in 2014 from the injured Iain Brines.

A Category One official since 2009, he has established himself as a regular in the Scottish Premiership since his first game – Dundee United’s 3-0 win over Dunfermline in March 2012.

Beaton, whose cousin Steven Nicholls is also a referee, hit the headlines last year when he was headbutted during a volatile derby in Saudi Arabia between Al Hilal and Al Nasr – during which he issued three red cards.

John Beaton referee (Hibernian v Rangers - 1st November 2015)
Occupation: Beaton, who once had ambitions to be a journalist, is now a full-time referee after giving up his day job as a communications officer at Strathclyde University (Picture from Sky Sports)

Beaton was an additional assistant referee as part of Willie Collum’s Scottish team of officials for two group games at Euro 2016.

He has also built up European and international refereeing experience of his own in the last few years, as one of seven Scottish officials currently on the Fifa list.

Aberdeen are aiming to lift silverware for the first time since winning the competition in 2014 while Scottish champions Celtic lifted the trophy the following year.

Derek McInnes, who suffered his first defeat as Dons boss against Celtic in 2013, will be hoping his side can emulate their two home wins over the Hoops last season but Celtic will be desperate to secure their first silverware under Rodgers.

Kevin Clancy, who refereed Ross County’s 2-1 win over Hibs in last season’s final, was in control of Aberdeen’s 2-0 semi-final victory against Morton while Craig Thomson oversaw Celtic’s 1-0 success over Rangers in the Old Firm derby.

This year’s League Cup Final has a pre-Christmas date for the first time since 1998, as part of the competition’s revamp this season.

SkyBet Championship: Tim Robinson to referee Brentford v Fulham

Tim Robinson will take charge of Friday’s west London derby at Griffin Park, before Paul Tierney will oversee Saturday’s televised early kick-off between Wolves and Derby at Molineux.

Tim Robinson in action
Moving up: Robinson is in his fifth season as a Football League referee but has ambitions to officiate in the Premier League one day (Picture from Sky Sports)

TIM Robinson has been confirmed as the referee for the west London derby between Brentford and Fulham on Friday night.

The 32-year-old, from west Sussex, will take charge of the first SkyBet Championship match of the weekend as the Cottagers seek a first victory at Griffin Park in 18 years, in front of the Sky cameras (KO 19:45 BST).

He will be assisted by Andrew Fox (Warwickshire) and Mark Jones (Nottinghamshire), with James Adcock (Nottinghamshire) the fourth official.

Robinson is becoming a regular on live TV and on Friday nights – having been on electronic board duties at Loftus Road for Brentford’s 2-0 win over QPR, which Adcock refereed, in another west London derby last week.

Seven days earlier, he gave six yellow cards when in the middle for Burton Albion’s 2-0 win over Birmingham City at the Pirelli Stadium.

His only other televised game this term came in September when he awarded penalties to both sides in Peterborough’s 2-2 draw with Swindon at the ABAX Stadium in League One.

Swindon midfielder Michael Doughty admitted afterwards he had to ‘bite his tongue’ after Robinson controversially awarded Posh a free-kick, on the linesman’s advice, despite Doughty appearing to cleanly the ball off Marcus Maddison – who went on to score.

The Select Group 2 whistler, who gave up his job as a PE teacher to become a full-time official last summer, will oversee his 14th match of the season in all competitions.

Robinson has so far brandished 65 yellow cards, sent off three players and awarded three penalties – and it will be the second time he will encounter both sides in the Championship this term.

Tim Robinson at full-time (Hull v Sheffield Wed - 26th Feb 2016)
Established: Robinson is now a familiar presence in the Championship and is able to focus more on his refereeing as a professional EFL official (Picture from Sky Sports)

He encountered the Bees in their 1-0 home win over Nottingham Forest in August, in which Forest defender Damien Perquis was dismissed for two bookable offences late on.

Meanwhile, Robinson oversaw the Cottagers in their 1-1 draw against Burton at Craven Cottage in mid-September.

In the same month, he was criticised by Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth for missing what he felt was a blatant handball in the build-up to Portsmouth’s third goal in their 4-2 victory over his side at Fratton Park in League Two.

Robinson’s only previous experience of a west London derby came back in February in Fulham’s 3-1 win at QPR.

He handed out four bookings at Loftus Road but QPR felt Dan Burn should have been sent off for bringing down Jamie Mackie as the last man.

The Middleton-on-Sea official enjoyed a progressive campaign last season – in which he officiated 43 games in all competitions, 14 of which were in the Championship and six were televised.

Robinson was fourth official for four Premier League games as well as the League Two Play-Off Final, and handled the League One Play-Off semi-final second leg between Millwall and Bradford at the New Den.

Robinson – who is the chairman of the Chichester and West Sussex Sunday League – has been qualified for 15 years and progressed through the Sussex, Wessex and Ryman leagues having first taken up the whistle on the advice of his former PE teacher, Paul Blackmore.

He ran the line in the 2008-09 Conference Play-Off Final at Wembley before gaining a place on the Football League list of assistant referees in the 2010-11 season.

His first game as a National List referee was Southend against Accrington in League Two in August 2012.


ELSEWHERE…

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Seasoned campaigner: Tierney handled over 200 games in the Football League since his promotion in 2008 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Premier League whistler Paul Tierney will take charge of the Midlands derby between managerless Wolves and Derby County on Saturday.

The 37-year-old, from Lancashire, has been assigned to the televised lunchtime encounter at Molineux as Wolves’ caretaker boss Rob Edwards hopes to get the better of the Rams in his first home game in charge (KO 12:15 BST).

He will be assisted by Andy Halliday (north Yorkshire) and Mark Scholes (Buckinghamshire), while Select Group 2 referee Chris Kavanagh (Manchester) will be on fourth official duties.

It will be Tierney’s 11th game of the season in all competitions, having so far brandished 37 yellow cards, one red card and awarded two penalties.

He had an assured top-flight debut in Swansea’s 3-0 win over West Brom in August 2014 and went on to officiate four other games before his promotion to the Select Group, along with Stuart Attwell, was confirmed this summer.

Paul Tierney in Premier League action (Watford v WBA - 15th August 2015)
Lenient: Tierney has largely escaped controversy and stayed under the radar in his seven Premier League games to date

The former hairdresser, who is the first referee from Wigan to officiate in the Premier League, has already handled Burnley’s 1-1 draw with Hull in September and Swansea’s goalless draw with Watford this term.

He was criticised by Watford boss Walter Mazzarri after last month’s match at the Liberty Stadium for failing to award what he felt were two clear penalties for his side.

Tierney was also labelled as “appalling” by then Bolton boss Neil Lennon at the start of last season when refereeing another derby in the Championship, in their goalless draw with Blackburn at Ewood Park.

Paul Tierney referee (Swindon v MK Dons - 4th April 2015)
Expert: Tierney has controlled more Championship games (82) than any other league or competition in his career (Picture from Sky Sports)

Saturday will be his fifth second-tier match of 2016-17 – and his second in front of the Sky cameras, after taking control of an incident-free stalemate between Derby County and Aston Villa in another all-Midlands affair at the iPro Stadium in August.

Tierney, meanwhile, has not encountered Wolves for over a year since their 2-0 home defeat by Brentford in October 2015.

His career highlights include running the line in a 2009 FA Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Arsenal, taking charge of the 2014 League Two Play-Off semi-final second leg between Southend and Burton Albion and being fourth official for the FA Trophy Final in the same year.

Last season, he oversaw 46 games in all competitions, including both legs of the FA Youth Cup Final and Plymouth’s 1-0 second-leg win over Portsmouth in the League Two Play-Off semi-finals.

Although allowing the game to flow as much as possible and largely avoiding controversy, Tierney has built a reputation for being a card-happy official during his six seasons as a Football League referee.

The clash between the sides at Molineux was also officiated by a Premier League referee last season, as Graham Scott handed out five bookings when George Saville struck twice for their 2-1 win over Derby back in February.

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Different role: Tierney has been fourth official for eight games this season, six in the Premier League and two in Europe (Picture from Sky Sports)

You can view the rest of the EFl match official appointments here.

Bobby Madden to referee first Scottish Premiership game since cancer scare

The Fifa whistler will oversee his first top-flight game since the end of August when the 10-man Dons were beaten 4-1 at Celtic Park after recovering from a battle with thyroid cancer.

Bobby Madden looks on
Back in business: Madden will be in the middle for his ninth game of the season – and only his fourth in Scotland’s top-flight (Picture from Sky Sports)

REFEREE Bobby Madden will take charge of his first Scottish Premiership game in over three months, following his scare battling a rare disease. 

The 38-year-old returned to action after two months out recovering from thyroid cancer at Glebe Park last Saturday for Livingston’s 3-0 over Brechin City in League One.

Although he didn’t wish to discuss his illness, the East Mains official said this week he was happy to be back refereeing and is “keeping very well”.

Now, Madden will oversee the televised Friday night encounter between Partick Thistle and Aberdeen at Firhill.

It will be his first top-flight match since he awarded Celtic a penalty and sent off Aberdeen defender Mark Reynolds for two bookable offences in the champions’ 4-1 win over the Dons on August 27.

Before that game at Celtic Park, he had handled qualifiers in the Champions League and Europa League, two Betfred Cup ties and two other Premiership matches.

It’s understood Madden had been diagnosed at the end of last season but postponed surgery until after Euro 2016 – where he was an additional assistant as part of Willie Collum’s team of officials.

There were a number of positive messages from well-wishers on social media, as Madden was eased back onto the pitch last weekend.

The Fifa whistler was also an additional assistant for Craig Thomson in Atletico Madrid’s last-gasp 2-1 victory over FC Rostov in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Madden – who oversaw Celtic’s 2-0 win over Dundee United in the 2015 League Cup Final – has so far brandished 17 yellow cards, sent off two players and awarded five penalties this term.

Three of those spotkicks were controversially awarded to St Johnstone in the space of 23 minutes during their 3-0 League Cup win over Falkirk in July – after which Bairns boss Peter Houston said he would monitor the official’s penalty calls throughout the season.

Domestically, Madden was promoted to Category One in 2009 and has built up a wealth of experience and respect to become a Scottish top-flight regular since his first match in January 2011.

He first took up the whistle in 2002 and last year revealed that an advert in the East Kilbride News – spotted by his brother Jamie – inspired him to become involved in refereeing after realising he wouldn’t make the grade as a professional player.

He will encounter Alan Archibald’s Thistle side for the first time since their 1-0 defeat against Hearts at Tynecastle on March 5, in which only one player was booked.

Madden will be assisted in Glasgow’s Maryhill for the first game of the weekend by Stuart Stevenson and Gary Hilland, with Stephen Finnie on fourth official duties.

Elsewhere, Crawford Allan will take charge of Celtic’s match with Inverness on Saturday and Andrew Dallas will be in control of Rangers’ televised trip to Ross County on Sunday lunchtime.

You can see a full list of SPFL match official appointments here.

Scottish Premiership: Steven McLean to referee Aberdeen v Celtic

Fifa referee Steven McLean will take charge of the weekend’s first and stand-out fixture at Pittodrie as the top-flight’s top two go head to head for the second time this season.

Steven McLean referee
Reunited: It will be a first Celtic game of the season for McLean – and only his second of 2016 (Picture from Sky Sports)

REFEREE Steven McLean will take charge when Celtic visit Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership this weekend.

The 35-year-old Fifa official will make his first trip to Pittodrie of the season as the champions look to move further clear at the top of the table this Saturday lunchtime (KO 12:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).

In their previous meeting back in August, Bobby Madden sent off Dons defender Mark Reynolds and awarded the Hoops a penalty late on in their 4-1 win at Parkhead.

McLean will encounter Celtic for the first time since he oversaw his only other match between the sides who have finished in the top two in the last three seasons earlier this year.

He gave out four yellow cards and put in a good display in Aberdeen’s 2-1 victory over Celtic at the start of February – one of two defeats the champions suffered on their trips to the Granite City last term.

Craig Thomson had a busy time last September as the Dons won by the same scoreline, awarding a spotkick for both sides and sending off Dons winger Jonny Hayes for a strong challenge on Mikael Lustig.

Other than the aforementioned Pittodrie clash, McLean also handled three more Celtic games last season – their 6-0 home win over Dundee last September, a 2-1 success at Hamilton a year ago and 2-2 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle on December 27.

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Honour: McLean took charge of his first major showpiece at Hampden Park in May when turning out for the Scottish Cup Final (Picture from BBC Scotland)

Meanwhile, McLean will oversee his second Aberdeen game of the current season after their 3-1 win at Dundee in September – as the Dons’ Kenny McLean converted a penalty and Dundee’s Mark O’Hara was dismissed late on for a second bookable offence.

McLean handled seven Aberdeen games in 2015-16 but it will be his first match at Pittodrie since the end of February – a 1-1 draw with St Johnstone, in which he awarded the visitors a controversial late penalty.

The Glasgow-based whistler – who is a qualified fitness instructor – was in charge of the 2014 League Cup Final at Celtic Park when the Dons beat Inverness on penalties.

McLean then oversaw Hibernian’s dramatic 3-2 triumph over Rangers last season in the Scottish Cup Final, after which he and his fellow match officials were caught up in the unsavoury pitch invasion.

Before taking charge of the stand-out match of the weekend, he made the calls at Dens Park for bottom club Dundee’s 2-0 defeat by Partick Thistle on Wednesday night – booking six players in his sixth top-flight game this term.

Steven McLean points for goalkick (Hearts v St Johnstone - 2nd August 2015)
Siblings: Steven McLean is the older brother of former Ross County and Dundee United defender Brian McLean (Picture from BT Sport)

McLean – a Fifa referee since 2010 who refereed his first SPL game in November 2008 – has so far issued 67 yellow cards, sent off two players and awarded three penalties in 15 games this season in all competitions.

He will be assisted on Saturday by Douglas Ross, Andrew McWilliam and fourth official Kevin Clancy, who handled Aberdeen’s 2-0 League Cup semi-final win over Morton last weekend.

The eagerly-awaited contest – a dress rehearsal for next month’s Betfred Cup Final – will bring together challengers Aberdeen and leaders Celtic, who are four points clear having played two games fewer.

Elsewhere, Nick Walsh is to oversee Motherwell against Ross County, John Beaton will handle Rangers’ clash with Kilmarnock and Barry Cook has been appointed to St Johnstone against Partick Thistle.

You can see a full list of this weekend’s SPFL match official appointments here.

SkyBet Championship: Mike Dean to referee Birmingham City v Aston Villa

Premier League referee Mike Dean will be in the middle for Sunday’s Second City derby at St Andrew’s, while James Adcock will take charge of Friday’s clash between west London rivals Brentford and QPR.

mike-dean-in-action-saints-v-burnley-16th-oct-2016
Bone of contention: Dean has already split opinion with penalty awards for grappling under the new directives this season (Picture from Sky Sports)

MIKE Dean has been confirmed as the referee for the ‘Second City’ derby between Birmingham City and Aston Villa in the SkyBet Championship this weekend.

The Wirral-based whistler will take control as the two Midlands rivals meet for the first time at St Andrew’s since January 2011 this Sunday lunchtime (KO 12:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted by Select Group linesmen Simon Long (Devon) and Daniel Cook (Hampshire), with Peter Bankes (Merseyside) on fourth official duties.

It will be a second major derby of the week for Dean after dishing out four yellow cards in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Manchester City at Old Trafford in the EFL Cup on Wednesday night.

The Football League was expected to appoint an experienced official and it will be a first taste of this particular fixture for Dean, who drops down from the Premier League for the first time this term for what could be a combustible affair between two fierce rivals in contrasting form of late.

He was last seen in the middle at the Emirates on Saturday for Arsenal’s goalless draw with Middlesbrough – delivering an assured display, only booking Gunners defender Shkodran Mustafi.

And Boro were the hosts for his previous Championship outing in May when he sent off Brighton’s Dale Stephens in a 1-1 draw at the Riverside Stadium in a promotion decider on the final day of the league season.

Earlier this month, Dean gave two spotkicks but was criticised for turning down Burnley’s appeals for another one in their 3-1 defeat by Southampton at St Mary’s.

Mike Dean points to penalty spot (Chelsea v Southampton - 15th March 2015)
Spotkick: Dean has awarded more penalties (19) since the start of last season than any other Select Group official (Picture from Sky Sports)

Sunday’s eagerly-awaited showdown will be the 48-year-old’s 11th match of the season in all competitions.

In his 10 games so far, he has brandished 38 yellow cards, sent off Sunderland’s Adnan Januzaj in their 1-0 defeat at Spurs, and awarded six penalties.

The Heswall-based whistler, who is the only referee to have officiated three Championship Play-Off Finals, took charge of three second-tier matches last season.

Meanwhile, Dean handled four Villa games in 2015-16 as they were relegated from the Premier League.

He oversaw their 1-0 home defeat by Manchester United in August and 3-2 defeat at champions Leicester in September, in which they let a two-goal lead slip.

In November, Dean gestured towards the halfway line in a rather excitable fashion when Villa went 2-0 down in their 3-1 defeat against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

He was also in control of their 1-1 Boxing Day draw with West Ham at Villa Park and 1-0 defeat at Swansea City in March.

mike-dean-gives-free-kick-man-utd-v-leicester-24th-sept-2016
Well-known: Former Fifa referee Dean has been a regular in the Premier League since 2000 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Dean has not handled a Birmingham game since January 2012 – their 4-1 win over Leeds United at Elland Road in the Championship.

But he will be remembered most by Blues fans for overseeing their famous 2-1 triumph over Arsenal in the 2011 League Cup Final.

The sides last met at Birmingham’s home in a 1-1 Premier League draw five years ago, officiated by Mark Clattenburg.

But, as Steve Bruce prepares to come up against his former employers, his new club Villa ran out 1-0 winners in a League Cup tie at Villa Park last season – with Bobby Madley the man in the middle on that occasion.


ELSEWHERE…

LEEDS, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Referee James Adcock talks to Gaetano Berardi of Leeds United and Chris Maguire of Sheffield Wednesday before giving both players a yellow card during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday at Elland Road on October 4, 2014 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
Regular: Adcock – one of 18 Select Group 2 officials – will handle his ninth Championship game of the season (Picture from Getty Images)

James Adcock will take charge of Friday night’s televised west London derby between QPR and Brentford at Loftus Road (KO 19:45 BST).

The Select Group 2 referee will be assisted by Adam Matthews, Michael George and fourth official Tim Robinson – who refereed Burton’s 2-0 win over Birmingham last Friday – for his 16th game of the season.

So far this term, he has brandished 41 yellow cards and awarded three penalties but is yet to issue a red card.

Adcock – who only received 10 second-tier matches last term – last encountered Brentford in August, booking two players in their 1-0 defeat at Rotherham.

The Nottinghamshire-based official, who handled the 2011 Conference Play-Off Final, oversaw QPR’s 1-1 draw at Leeds back in April – awarding the visitors an 87th-minute penalty which Tjarron Chery converted.

Adcock was the fourth official who was swore at by Sunderland boss David Moyes and subsequently advised referee Chris Kavanagh to send him off in the Black Cats’ 1-0 EFL Cup defeat at Southampton in midweek.

The 32-year-old, who has ambitions to be a Premier League referee one day, gave up his day job as a PE teacher in the summer to become a full-time referee.

Regarded as a competent official, Adcock began refereeing in 2000 at the age of 16 before progressing through local leagues to join the Conference List in 2009 and the Football League list two years later.

In last season’s meetings between the rivals, Simon Hooper refereed Brentford’s 1-0 win at Griffin Park in October before Fred Graham issued seven yellows in QPR’s 3-0 victory over the Bees at Loftus Road in March.

You can see all of this weekend’s Football League match official appointments here.

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.

craig-thomson-and-kevin-clancy
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.

craig-thomson-speaks-to-scott-brown-v-rangers-17th-april-2016
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.

REACTION:

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.

willie-collum-in-action-inverness-v-celtic-29th-november-2015
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.