The West Midlands whistler will take charge of a Manchester City trip to Tottenham for the third time as the Premier League’s top two meet at White Hart Lane.
ANDRE Marriner has been confirmed as the referee for Manchester City’s trip to Tottenham in the Premier League’s standout fixture this weekend.
The 45-year-old, from the west Midlands, will take charge at White Hart Lane as Pep Guardiola’s leaders face another stern test against second-placed Spurs on Sunday afternoon (KO 14:15 BST, live on Sky Sports).
He will be ably assisted in north London by Simon Beck (Bedfordshire) and Andy Garratt (west Midlands), while Jon Moss (west Yorkshire) is the fourth official.
Marriner will be remembered by City fans for missing Sergio Aguero’s elbow on Winston Reid, despite appearing to have a clear view of the incident, which led to the Argentine being banned for three games.
The Fifa official only handed out four yellow cards in their 3-1 victory over West Ham at the Etihad Stadium last month – the only time he has encountered Guardiola’s team so far this term.
But their two defeats against Spurs last term will still leave a bitter taste, both of which were refereed by Euro 2016 Final official Mark Clattenburg.
Three goals in Spurs’ 4-1 home win could have been ruled out for offside, before Spurs were awarded a controversial penalty for an apparent Raheem Sterling handball in their 2-1 victory at the Etihad – much to the anger of then City boss Manuel Pellegrini.
Meanwhile, it will be the third time Marriner will oversee a Spurs v City game at the Lane – after a goalless draw between the sides on the opening weekend in 2010-11 and City’s 1-0 win in May 2015, both passing without major incident.
He also awarded two penalties to Liverpool, the first of which led to the dismissal of Ahmed Elmohamady for handball, in their 5-1 win over Hull City at Anfield last weekend.
City will be hoping to maintain their 100 per cent league start in their seventh game, but Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs can move to within a point of the visitors with a fifth successive win in all competitions.
More to follow.
You can view the rest of the weekend’s match official appointments here.
Mark Clattenburg, Craig Thomson and Michael Oliver have been chosen to referee their first group stage matches in the Champions League this season on Tuesday night.
BRITISH referees Mark Clattenburg, Michael Oliver and Craig Thomson will take charge of matches in the second round of Champions League group stage fixtures on Tuesday.
England’s leading official Clattenburg will handle Group F’s marquee showdown between Borussia Dortmund and holders Real Madrid in Germany.
Fellow countryman Michael Oliver will make his refereeing debut in the Champions League proper when Sporting Lisbon host Legia Warsaw in Group F.
Scotland’s Thomson has been assigned to Copenhagen against Club Brugge in the Danish capital.
In Group G’s other game, Cuneyt Cakir of Turkey will be in the middle for English champions Leicester City’s first European home game against FC Porto.
And Spanish referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz has been appointed to Tottenham’s first away game in Group E against Russian side CSKA Moscow.
Clattenburg will encounter Real for the first time since their victory over Madrid rivals Atletico on penalties in last season’s final at Milan’s San Siro.
It was one of three major showpiece games he has received during a memorable year for the Newcastle-based whistler – including the FA Cup Final at Wembley and Euro 2016 Final at the Parc des Princes.
The 41-year-old has enjoyed a mixed start to the Premier League season but was criticised for failing to award penalties in Leicester’s goalless draw with Arsenal and the Manchester derby at Old Trafford.
He will be ably assisted at the Westfalenstadion by his regular linesmen Jake Collin and Simon Bennett, additional assistants Andre Marriner and Lee Mason, as well as fourth official Harry Lennard.
Meanwhile, Oliver will arguably handle the biggest game of his career thus far, having never previously ventured beyond the qualifying stage of Europe’s premier competition as the man in the middle.
The Northumberland whistler – who went to Euro 2016 as an additional assistant referee – incurred the wrath of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho after their 3-1 defeat at Watford earlier this month.
He is used to the big game occasion with six games at Wembley under his belt at the tender age of 31, while his display was credible in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Chelsea last weekend.
Oliver will be able to lean on the experience of Stuart Burt and Gary Beswick, additional assistants Craig Pawson and Jon Moss, as well as fourth official Stephen Child.
Elsewhere, Thomson has played second fiddle in Scotland this year to Willie Collum, who was preferred as their Euro 2016 representative and the first Old Firm derby of the season between Celtic and Rangers.
It completes a busy week for the former lawyer, who oversaw Aberdeen’s League Cup win over St Johnstone on Thursday night and Partick Thistle’s 1-1 draw with Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday.
The Paisley referee will be joined by David McGeachie and Alan Mulvanny, additional assistants Steven McLean and Andrew Dallas, and Graeme Stewart as fourth official.
And Leicester will be in capable hands for their Champions League bow at the King Power Stadium, in the form of experienced disciplinarian Cakir.
The insurance agent, who took charge of Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Juventus in the 2015 final, made history in the competition last term by becoming the first referee to oversee consecutive semi-final matches.
Istanbul-based Cakir has also handled last-four games at Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup, while he was also selected for Euro 2016 and the summer’s Olympic Games men’s football tournament in Rio.
But he has a history of upsetting English teams in the past with controversial decisions against them, not least Manchester United for the dismissal of Nani in their last-16 defeat against Real Madrid in 2013.
Cakir’s team of officials consists of Bahattin Duran, Tarik Ongun, Huseyin Gocek, Baris Simsek and Emre Eyisoy.
Spurs’ trip to Moscow presents another testing encounter for Lahoz, who has taken over the mantle of Spain’s number one official following the retirement of Carlos Velasco Carballo.
The Valencia-based referee has officiated four El Clasico games between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and is a familiar face to English teams having encountered three in his four Champions League games last season.
He controlled United’s 4-0 play-off second-leg win at Club Brugges, Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat at Porto in the group stages and Manchester City’s 3-1 win at Dynamo Kiev in the quarter-finals.
You can view the full list of match official appointments here.
But Rangers boss Mark Warburton was furious with the award of the decisive free-kick – when James Tavernier was booked despite appearing to poke the ball away from Hayes – and angrily confronted referee John Beaton on the pitch after the full-time whistle.
It leaves the Gers seventh in the table with nine points from seven league games – in which they have conceded the first goal in five of them.
But despite a respectable display and his side boasting 63 per cent possession, Warburton must be concerned as their winless run in the Scottish Premiership stretches to four games.
Nevertheless, it was a fantastic spectacle for the neutral – featuring nine yellow cards – as a long-awaited first meeting since January 2012 saw one of Scottish football’s most bruising rivalries renewed.
As predicted, there was a frantic and fast tempo to the opening exchanges in front of a near full house at Pittodrie, with both sides – who reached the Betfred Cup semi-finals in midweek – taking time to settle into a rhythm.
Harry Forrester’s shot deflected behind by Anthony O’Connor before an Adam Rooney effort at the other end was blocked by Danny Wilson – illustrating both sets of defences were on top in the first period.
The first flashpoint took 10 minutes to arise when Joe Garner took offence to a foul on him by O’Connor, but referee Beaton handled the situation well, reminding them in no uncertain terms who was in charge.
A lack of control early on was emphasised by Garner’s needless sliding challenge on Hayes, which earned him a yellow card.
The ex-Preston striker made his presence felt throughout and he should have done better when heading Tavernier’s delightful cross over the crossbar on 17 minutes.
Tavernier’s free-kick from 20 yards couldn’t a way past the Aberdeen wall before Joe Lewis was required to make an excellent save, scampering across his goalline after Garner’s wayward shot looped up off Shay Logan’s foot and was bound for the bottom corner.
Jason Holt – on his 50th Rangers appearance – rifled a half volley straight at Lewis after Garner missed his kick from Tavernier’s cutback before Barrie McKay curled off target on his right foot.
Aberdeen sat deep for long periods and struggled to carve out any kind of chances, with a Kenny McLean drive tipped over superbly by Foderingham the closest they came.
But after a first half lacking in goalscoring opportunities, the second period exploded into life as the Dons – who introduced Maddison for Peter Pawlett at the interval – drew first blood in no time at all.
A simple long ball forward by Lewis was flicked on by Rooney into the path of the onrushing Hayes, who easily escaped the Rangers defence to slot underneath Foderingham.
The Gers mustered a positive reply as Halliday’s free-kick flashed across the face of goal and drifted wide, before Wallace fired over from range but an effective end product continued to desert them.
Aberdeen largely offered a sporadic threat on the counter thereafter but remained a solid unit to thwart the Gers, who sent on Niko Kranjcar and Michael O’Halloran in place of Forrester and Waghorn.
Hayes got clear again down the left and his low effort was denied by Foderingham at the near post, after the Dons soaked up a sustained period of pressure.
But the Irish winger was at fault after bringing down the marauding Wallace, who was released in behind by substitute Kenny Miller.
It gave Rangers fan Halliday the chance to step up and send Lewis the wrong way from the spot, for his second goal in as many games.
From then on, Aberdeen pressed for a winner and, as the end of normal time approached, 19-year-old Maddison supplied it in dramatic fashion with the deadliest of free-kicks – surely a goal of the season contender.
Rangers desperately tried to respond but time was against them as they suffered their second league defeat of the season, while the Dons recorded a first win over the men from Govan since 2009.
Substitutes: Maddison (on for Pawlett 45′), Burns (on for McGinn 78′) and Taylor (on for Rooney 90+1). Not used: Alexander (GK), Storey, Storie, Stockley. Booked: Hayes, McLean, Shinnie, Reynolds, O’Connor
Substitutes: Kranjcar (on for Forrester 63′), O’Halloran (on for Waghorn 69′) and Miller (on for Garner 77′). Not used: Gilks (GK), Hodson, Senderos, Dodoo. Booked: Garner, Wilson, Kranjcar, Tavernier
Referee: John Beaton – 7/10 Assistant referees: Dougie Potter and Andrew McWilliam Fourth official: Don Robertson
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes:
“It was a sensational winner. The players fought hard for that. First half, I was really annoyed with how we played. Getting the [Jonny Hayes] goal gives the players that belief and confidence to go and get the win. They [Rangers] get a lifeline with the penalty kick. Wee James [Maddison], what a free-kick. We should be shouting from the rooftops with how good that is. We deserved the three points.”
Rangers boss Mark Warburton:
“We dominated the ball first half completely but went in at half-time frustrated it was 0-0. We gave away a schoolboy goal and for three or four minutes we looked a bit rocky. We lost our composure then got the ball down, then played. We got our rewards via the penalty and I thought there was (only) one team in it. I said to (assistant) Davie Weir we’d be frustrated to only get a point here when we have come and delivered a really good performance. I am never happy to drop a point, never mind three. I will be careful what I say about the free-kick. Everyone saw the ball move. The fourth official on the sidelines saw the ball move and made a comment. And yet a free-kick is given.”
“We’re obviously very disappointed. I think the first half we played very well and over the last couple of games we have played well but we need to start picking up points now. You could say that we dominated or that we were the better side but that happens in football. We just have to try to take our chances and be positive.”
Huge win for #Aberdeen. #Rangers should be concerned that they couldn't beat a side who were poor for most of the match.
Substitute Aaron Tshibola headed a late leveller for Aston Villa as a profligate Newcastle drew for the first time in the Championship this season.
Tshibola’s late header cancels out Elphick own goal
Two former Premier League sides produce all-action affair
Fourth successive draw for Villa
Newcastle drop points for third time in league this term
AARON Tshibola’s late equaliser earned Aston Villa a morale-boosting point as Newcastle United were left to rue a host of missed opportunities at Villa Park.
The substitute headed in his first Villa goal from a Jordan Ayew corner two minutes from time.
In a pulsating clash between two sides relegated from the Premier League last season, Newcastle were in complete control for long periods and looked set for a seventh win in nine league games as Villa captain Tommy Elphick turned DeAndre Yedlin’s cross into his own net in the first half.
But Mohamed Diame and Dwight Gayle passed up crucial chances for the visitors before Villa rallied late on and could have won it themselves.
Rafael Benitez’s side, considered favourites by many to win the title this term, remain fifth after their first league draw of the season – five points adrift of leaders Norwich, who they welcome to St James’ Park on Wednesday night.
Although their winless run extends to six games, Villa – without the injured Ross McCormack and ill-disciplined Jack Grealish – will be encouraged by their improved second-half display as they moved on to nine points from as many league matches this term.
For the first time in the second-tier, two Champions League winning managers went head-to-head – and Villa boss Roberto di Matteo will undoubtedly be the happier after seeing his side put under severe pressure in the first period.
Villa – who handed a first start to Albert Adomah – had started relatively well, with the former Middlesbrough winger releasing Jonathan Kodija down the right in the opening stages.
The ex-Bournemouth centre-back almost gifted Newcastle a second straight away when dwelling on the ball but Gayle could not finish one-on-one against Gollini.
With the hosts all over the place, Nathan Baker then had to make a crucial intervention when a menacing Gayle bore down on goal before Diame fired waywardly over after Gollini blocked a Matt Ritchie effort.
The only edgy moment for a dominant Newcastle in the first period came when Jonjo Shelvey was fortunate to receive only a yellow card for leaping into a challenge on Ashley Westwood in a reckless manner.
Clearly concerned by the visitors’ superiority, di Matteo threw on former Reading midfielder Tshibola in place of Baker and switched to a back four at the break.
There wasn’t an immediate change in pattern, as Newcastle pushed for the insurance goal to kill off the hosts.
The influential Shelvey tested Gollini from range before intelligently setting up Diame, but the former West Ham and Hull midfielder couldn’t open his Magpies account, slicing a glorious chance wide from 12 yards.
The visitors were given a warning about complacency when Mile Jedinak was left free to head in Ayew’s pinpoint free-kick but was flagged offside.
Villa, who sent on top scorer Rudy Gestede for Adomah, had firmly sprung into life and Ayew came within inches of a spectacular goal when his rasping right-footer from 20 yards clipped the post.
But the forward played his part when the resurgent hosts levelled up, as his well-flighted corner picked out Tshibola and the summer signing – who was correctly booked for diving minutes earlier – escaped Isaac Hayden’s attentions to head home from two yards.
Having been on top for so long, it was Newcastle hanging on for dear life during six minutes of stoppage time, as an impassive Benitez was left to reflect on his side’s failure to add to their slender advantage.
However, it could be a significant turning point for Villa, who themselves have struggled to see out positive results this term, after fighting back from the abyss to secure a draw they feel was merited in the end.
Aston Villa 1 (Tshibola 88′) Newcastle United 1 (Elphick 28′ og)
Substitutes: Tshibola (on for Baker 45′), Gestede (on for Adomah 63′) and Hepburn-Murphy (on for Westwood 86′). Not used: Bunn (GK), Hutton, Richards, Cissokho. Booked: Chester (41′), Baker (44′), Tshibola (79′)
Substitutes: Tiote (on for Yedlin 75′) and Mitrovic (on for Gayle 80′). Not used: Darlow (GK), Hanley, Lazaar, Atsu, Perez. Booked: Shelvey (27′)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Manchester) – 8/10 Assistant referees: Nick Greenhalgh & James Mainwaring (Lancashire) Fourth official: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)
Aston Villa manager Roberto di Matteo:
“I said [at half-time] lets just put them under pressure and lets ask some questions. We changed the formation a little bit as well and managed to get more of a hold of the ball and created some real problems for Newcastle. I really thought that towards the end we would have the opportunity to win the game as well. We had plenty of chances and we got into very good positions. Just the last pass was missing, but there was somebody at the end of the last cross.”
Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez:
“Di Matteo will have another vision of the second-half, but the first-half we were so dominant that we could finish the game and then we would be sat here talking about another thing. But that is football, you have to take your chances. We had to defend better second-half, but you have to give credit to them. The positives for our team were in the first-half and the negatives were in the second as we allowed them to stay in the game.”
1-1 at Villa not terrible, but points dropped given dominance for an hour. Says a lot that ultimately a fair result, really. #nufc#avfc
And the Lilywhites, who had lost six of their previous eight league games, continue their momentum by recording a third win and clean sheet in the league, in front of Deepdale’s biggest crowd so far this term, to move up one place to 18th.
In contrast, Gary Caldwell’s men make the 13-mile journey back down the M6 with the disappointment of failing to make their superiority count still raw as they suffered a fifth defeat in six league games.
The Latics, who have now lost all five of their away games this season, remain 22nd ahead of Saturday’s games and could end the weekend bottom of the table.
The visitors were under severe pressure from the outset and Preston were rewarded for their enterprising start in unorthodox fashion.
McGeady got on the end of Tom Clarke’s knockdown and the Irishman’s half-volley into the ground was innocuously diverted in by Hugill, who notched for the second home game running after his spectacular strike against Cardiff.
But Caldwell pointed to a foul by Clarke on Shaun MacDonald in the build-up, which went unnoticed by the officials.
Shocked into action, the Latics responded well and top scorer Will Grigg could have added to his five goals this term on 17 minutes but headed over Jordi Gomez’s left-wing cross from six yards.
Gomez fired wide of Maxwell’s goal shortly before the break after Max Power’s clever pass around the corner got him clear of the Preston backline.
Preston, without the departed Joe Garner and injured Jermaine Beckford, couldn’t impose themselves in attack, as midweek hat-trick hero Simon Makienok struggled to use his physicality against the equally tall Dan Burn.
Wigan enjoyed 64 per cent of the possession and were the more progressive side in the first half, yet chances were few and far between at both ends.
Preston began the second half the way they started the first and almost doubled their lead within two minutes of the restart.
Alan Browne linked up well with Makienok before setting up Hugill but the former Port Vale striker’s low effort, bound for the bottom corner, was tipped around the post superbly by Bogdan.
“It was a decent game; it was quite open, with plenty of chances for both teams. We got off to a good start with the goal, but from then on in the first half we were probably two yards off the pace. We allowed Wigan to get into the passing game that they are very comfortable and good at doing – without really hurting us too much. We got better in the second half and whilst the stats will prove they had more possession that us, we had the far clearer chances.”
“I am disappointed for the fans of course. As I said before the game, these matches are for the fans and I thought they came out in great numbers to support the team so I am disappointed for them. They saw a team that gave absolutely everything again, played some great football, but just couldn’t get back in a game that the referee gave Preston a goal start in.”
Not pretty but we'll take those wins all day! Great shift from everyone 👊🏻Great support again.. Clinical as always Jord! @JordanHugill#Pne
Former Charlton striker Simon Makienok struck his first goals for the club with a sensational hat-trick, on only his second Lilywhites start, to book a fourth-round tie against Newcastle.
It was the perfect reaction to suffering the heaviest defeat of Simon Grayson’s tenure – and worst league loss since 2004 – in last Saturday’s 5-0 drubbing at Brentford.
Danish frontman Makienok will be looking to continue in the same vein as Preston seek their first league win over the Latics since April 2000.
The Lilywhites have found results hard to come by on home soil with just one win in their last 10 league outings, but that victory came in emphatic fashion against Cardiff City in their previous game at Deepdale.
Meanwhile, Wigan ended a wretched run of four straight defeats with a tepid goalless draw against Fulham last weekend at the DW Stadium – keeping only their second clean sheet of the season.
Gary Caldwell’s team, who won the League One title last term, will be desperate to climb out of the bottom three with a positive result before their relegation rivals take to the field on Saturday.
The Latics – a Premier League club as recently as 2013 – could also benefit from having no midweek match, so they should be fresh when they make the short 18-mile trip up the M6 along with 3,000 of their supporters.
But the newly-promoted side have won only once in the Championship this term and have lost all four of their away league games so far.
Northern Irish striker Will Grigg isn’t exactly on fire at the moment, given his side’s predicament, but has had a hand in Wigan’s last four league goals – scoring three of them.
The main focus for both sides will be taking three points and holding the bragging rights in this particular Lancashire rivalry until the sides lock horns again at the DW in February.
Wigan will be without midfielder Alex Gilbey, who will be sidelined for a while after being stretchered off with a knee injury against Fulham.
Deadline day signing Nathan Byrne – who replaced him off the bench last weekend – is likely to take his place.
Nick Powell returned from a groin problem as a substitute against the Cottagers and could be in contention for a start.
But defender Reece Burke had an operation on a hernia this week and will be out for up to a month.
Alex Baptiste, Aiden McGeady, Anders Lindegaard and Paul Gallagher should return to the Preston squad, having been left at home in midweek.
On-loan Everton winger McGeady could be reunited with Wigan boss Caldwell, who he played with for four years at Celtic before they both left Parkhead in 2010.
Former Manchester United defender Marnick Vermijl will again miss out with a hamstring strain suffered at Griffin Park but striker Jermaine Beckford could be involved after four games out with a hamstring injury.
“These local derbies are special games, we had some good games last year with Blackburn, Burnley and Bolton and it will be no different with Wigan.
“They have had some good times being in the Premier League, winning the FA Cup, and they suffered the disappointment of going into League One but now they are back into the Championship and they’re looking to progress and stabilise as a football club.
“We know what to expect, they’ve recruited over the summer and on deadline day and they have got some threats but we will be concentrating on what we need to do to affect the game as well.
“We are at home, we are going to take the game to them and we’ve got to make sure that we play with the same tempo as we did in the Cardiff game and probably for the first 74 minutes that we did against Brentford.”
“You can’t get too emotional; we are obviously up for it because we know the importance of it to the fans because the result and the night is for them to enjoy so we will do everything we can to give them a win and make sure they enjoy their night.
“I don’t know what Preston’s team will be because of their result the other night at Bournemouth in the Cup and the travelling they have had to do, so that will be interesting.
“We know them, though, we know the strengths they will bring and we will be ready.”
Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands) Assistant referees: James Wilson (Cheshire) and Christopher Akers (south Yorkshire) Fourth official: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire)
West Midlands whistler Langford, 36, will take charge of his fourth Championship game of the season after being confirmed on the 18-strong list of Select Group 2 referees in the summer.
Despite impressing with his quiet but assured approach, he has often found himself officiating in League One and League Two in previous seasons.
After the excitement of the Old Firm, another of Scottish football’s bitter feuds is back as the two rivals hoping to compete for Celtic’s crown meet at Pittodrie for the first time in five years.
ONE of Scottish football’s most intense feuds resumes this weekend after being put on hold for four years.
Regarded by many as the next best thing to the Old Firm, Aberdeen against Rangers has often been a fiery fixture, which embodied the competitive edge to the former Scottish Premier League era.
With the Dons rediscovering their form in last week’s classy come-from-behind win at Dundee, Derek McInnes’s side will be primed to take on a beleaguered Gers side who have endured a difficult start to their long-awaited Premiership return.
The outspoken Englishman’s latest outburst seemed to have proved detrimental to both his career and Rangers’ season, but the experienced midfield man – now the subject of a betting investigation – has vowed to fight back.
The fiasco could not be more welcome or ideal, during a period in which the Gers have only won one of their last four games – and, even more worryingly, look disjointed and defensively frail.
But their regular League Cup keeper Matt Gilks, a former team-mate of Barton’s at Burnley, took to the media to insist it hasn’t unsettled the squad or affected their match preparations.
This was emphasised in a typically bruising encounter in October 2011, the last time the men from Govan made the trip to the north-east, when Kyle Lafferty’s clinical finish and a Nikica Jelavic penalty helped the Gers to a 2-1 victory, putting them in firm control in the title race.
But neither have fully established themselves as pacesetters having opened the campaign in stuttering fashion, punctuated by glimpses of brilliance and moments of madness in equal measure.
Heading into the seventh round of matches, both sides are adjacent in the table with almost identical records – fourth and fifth respectively, with two wins, three draws and a defeat from six league games.
Aberdeen had a more difficult route than Rangers into the League Cup’s last four, as recently as Thursday night, with Adam Rooney’s 90th minute header the difference against a stubborn St Johnstone.
It extended the Dons’ steady but unspectacular opening to the campaign but – like the Gers – their only domestic defeat thus far has come at Celtic Park, with Aberdeen on the end of a similar resounding loss at the end of August.
And both the Dons and the Gers will be desperately hoping for the win which would provide a psychological boost to their faltering bids in challenging champions Celtic.
While, from the neutral point of view, it has all the ingredients of a classic.
Aberdeen skipper Ryan Jack will be sidelined once again as he continues to recuperate from knee surgery.
Winger Jonny Hayes missed Thursday’s League Cup tie against St Johnstone after sustaining a hamstring injury in the warm-up but the Irishman expects to be fit to face the Gers.
Rangers captain Lee Wallace should return at left-back after being rested for Tuesday’s League Cup tie against Queen of the South.
Andy Halliday, who described taking over the armband in midweek as “one of the proudest moments of my career”, is set to continue in midfield with Barton – the man he had a training ground row with last week – suspended by the club for three weeks.
Matt Gilks was in goal against the Doonhamers in midweek but is set to return to the bench, with Wes Foderingham likely to come back in.
Referee: John Beaton Assistants referees: Dougie Potter and Andrew McWilliam Fourth official: Don Robertson
Fifa official Beaton, 34, has already had some eventful games and controversial moments so far this season – giving 11 yellow cards and a penalty for a dive, three penalties in 45 minutes, booking two players for diving in the same game and sending a manager to the stands for sarcastically applauding a decision.
But the Lanarkshire whistler will be hoping for a quieter afternoon in arguably his biggest match of the campaign so far – and his first between Aberdeen and Rangers.
You can read more about Beaton’s appointment here.
It was another early-season showdown at Pittodrie which produced one of the most thrilling games between these bitter rivals in recent times.
Reigning champions Rangers looked on course to suffer their first defeat of the season when Scott Vernon and Chris Maguire fired the Dons into a 2-0 lead inside half-an-hour.
But Kenny Miller, currently in his third spell with the Ibrox club, continued his excellent form at the start of the campaign by first converting a controversially awarded penalty before blasting home his second to level the scores.
Nikica Jelavic notched the winner midway through the second half and Aberdeen’s Maguire saw red late on as the Gers moved above Celtic at the top of the SPL on goal difference, with both sides winning their first six league games.
But the defiant former Brentford boss has shook off the haters and, after a shambolic display against fellow fierce rivals Celtic earlier this month, insists his players are ready for the challenge they face against the Dons.
He said: “They want to play in these type of games. It will be a 20,000 sell-out and an intimidating atmosphere and they will enjoy that. It has been five years since we have been up there. The fans are looking forward to it and so are the players.
“We are looking forward to the trip north. After what happened at Parkhead hard work is the only way of getting better.”
Opposite number Derek McInnes has questioned why his side have been given two days less to prepare for the game but insists the Dons will be at full strength and ready for Rangers.
Speaking after his team booked a League Cup semi spot against Morton, McInnes said: “We need a big effort from everyone for Sunday. It’s ridiculous that Rangers have 48 hours of extra recovery before a league game when there doesn’t need to be.
“Why our game was moved to the Thursday, I don’t get. But it is what it is – and we’ll be ready for them come Sunday.
“It will be a full house here, everyone wants to be involved in it. I think it’s a significant fixture on the calendar, Aberdeen against Rangers.
“It probably gets everyone fired up. They’re a good side, they had an impressive performance the other night.
“Rangers have got too much quality, having invested heavily in a squad that already looked good in the Championship, to consider them anything but a tough nut to crack. But we’re in good form. And tonight’s result helps.
“I don’t know about us being favourites. I can’t go and spend £2 million or £3 million and pay the wages they do. But we always feel we can win, especially at Pittodrie. Sunday is no different.”