REFEREE Crawford Allan will be the man in the middle for the Scottish Premiership encounter between Dundee United and Celtic this weekend.
The 46-year-old will oversee proceedings as ex-Hoops defender Jackie McNamara leads his Tangerines side against reigning champions Celtic in Saturday’s televised lunchtime kick-off at Tannadice in week four of the 2013-14 campaign.
It will be Allan’s fifth appointment of the campaign, and third in the Scottish Premiership, having officiated Aberdeen’s 2-1 opening day victory over Kilmarnock at Pittodrie as a late replacement for John Beaton, Cowdenbeath’s 5-0 League Cup first round win over Berwick and Hamilton’s 1-0 triumph at Raith Rovers in the Championship. He has so far given 15 yellows and two red cards.
It’s the second time Allan will oversee United already after their 1-1 draw against Hibernian at Easter Road on 17 August, in which he brandished five yellows and two red cards to Hibs midfielder Kevin Thomson and United centre-back Gavin Gunning following a second-half spat. The former Blackburn defender will be available to face Celtic after serving his two-match ban.
The experienced official, who was promoted to the SFL in 2003 and is a regular fourth official in Champions League and Europa League games, oversaw two United matches in 2012-13 – a 3-1 defeat to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in August and May’s 2-1 win over Inverness in the Highlands.
His only Celtic appointment came in October’s 2-0 defeat to Kilmarnock at Parkhead, in which he awarded the visitors a penalty.
Overall, the Scottish whistler – a Category One official since 2005 and was in the middle for last season’s Ramsdens Cup final between Queen of the South and Partick Thistle – took charge of 33 matches in all competitions last season, dishing out 78 yellow cards and six red cards as well as giving five penalties.
He will be assisted by linesmen Francis Andrews and Michael Banks while Calum Murray – who was in charge of Celtic’s 2-0 win at Aberdeen a fortnight ago – has been assigned the role of fourth official.
The Hoops return to action after Wednesday’s Champions League heroics as Neil Lennon’s men reached the group stages with a thrilling late victory over Kazakhstan champions Shakhter Karagandy.
After three winless games, the fourth-placed Tangerines recorded their first Scottish Premiership victory last weekend against St Johnstone and while Celtic – second behind Inverness – have collected seven points from three matches after clawing back a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Caley Thistle last Saturday.
The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 3 on Saturday, August 31, with a 12:45 BST kick-off from Tannadice.