REFEREE Calum Murray will be the man in the middle for the Scottish Premiership encounter between Aberdeen and Celtic this weekend.
The 46-year-old will oversee proceedings as Derek McInnes’s new-look Dons take on the champions in an eagerly-anticipated clash in Saturday’s televised lunchtime kick-off at Pittodrie in week three of the 2013-14 campaign.
Aberdeen have impressively won both of their opening matches at home to Kilmarnock and away to Motherwell, while Celtic started their title defence with a late 2-1 victory over Ross County at Celtic Park in their only fixture so far due to their participation in last weekend’s glamour friendly with Liverpool in Dublin.
It will be Murray’s third appointment of the campaign having officiated Rangers’ shock 2-1 defeat to Forfar Athletic at Station Park in the Scottish League Cup first round and Dumbarton’s 1-1 Scottish Championship draw with Falkirk last weekend, handing out three yellow cards in each game.
Murray – a FIFA referee between 2005 and 2012 before reaching the automatic retirement age – was the referee when the sides met on the opening day last term as Celtic won 1-0 courtesy of Kris Commons’ late winner in Glasgow and oversaw the Bhoys’ 1-0 victory in the North East two seasons ago.
In addition to August’s clash with the Dons, he oversaw four other Celtic games in 2012-13 – a 5-0 victory at St Mirren in October, 1-0 defeat to Inverness in November, 2-0 home win over St Mirren in December and 4-1 triumph against Kilmarnock in January at Parkhead.
Overall, the Scottish whistler – who has been a Category One official since 2000 – took charge of 29 matches in all competitions last season, dishing out 83 yellow cards and six red cards as well as giving four penalties.
Due to the rise of younger officials such as the promising John Beaton, Steven McLean and Bobby Madden, Murray – whose strengths include a reluctance to use cards and a calmness under pressure – was restricted to just 13 SPL matches last season, with 32 yellow cards and two red cards brandished and a solitary penalty awarded.
He will be assisted by linesmen Andrew McWilliam and Graham Chambers, while David Somers has been assigned the role of fourth official.
The match will be broadcast live on BT Sport 2 on Saturday, 17th August, with a 12:30pm kick-off at Pittodrie.