Another Edinburgh derby for ref Bobby Madden

Referee Bobby Madden will be in the middle for his third Edinburgh derby of 2014 when Hibernian host Scottish Championship leaders Hearts this Sunday lunchtime.

Prominent figure: Madden has become one of the leading match officials in Scotland (Picture by Adam Higgins)
Prominent figure: Madden has become one of the leading match officials in Scotland (Picture by Adam Higgins)

BOBBY Madden will be in the middle for his third Edinburgh derby of 2014 when Hibernian host neighbours Hearts on Sunday.

The previous two contests came in the Scottish Premiership and also took place at Easter Road, with Hibs winning the New Year showdown 2-1 before Hearts were victorious by the same scoreline in April.

Both passed without major incident, with nine yellow cards shown in total, before the two fierce rivals were subsequently relegated to the Scottish Championship at the end of the season.

Stirling-based Madden, 35, will be assisted by linesmen Graham Chambers and Douglas Ross for the televised clash on BT Sport.

Crawford Allan, who will referee Friday’s SPL clash between Aberdeen and Motherwell, will be the fourth official for the 12:15 BST kick-off.

Both sides have already clashed this term in the first-ever meeting below the top-flight as Hearts claimed a 2-1 win at Tynecastle in an eventful encounter back in August.

Under the spotlight: Willie Collum made a number of controversial decisions when the two Edinburgh rivals met in the second week of the season (Picture by Adam Higgins)
Under the spotlight: Willie Collum made a number of controversial decisions when the two Edinburgh rivals met in the second week of the season (Picture by Adam Higgins)

Willie Collum was the central to the action, the official awarding two penalties and dismissing two players, one for either side.

Madden, who was part of a Scottish officiating team led by Collum at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night, will hope he can slip under the radar as he has done in his previous experience of one of Scotland’s oldest derby rivalries.

It has been a busy season so far for the Fifa whistler, who oversaw his seventh Premiership game of the campaign last Saturday in Celtic’s 5-0 win over Ross County.

As well as awarding three penalties, Madden has brandished an average of three yellow cards per game in his 12 matches in all competitions.

His only red card came earlier this month in the Euro 2016 qualifier between Latvia and Turkey while last month, he handled PSV Eindhoven’s Europa League group stage opener at home to Estoril.

Madden also enjoyed a largely successful season in 2013-14, overseeing 42 games in total including semi-finals in both the Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup, Europa League ties and World Cup qualifiers as well as 24 Premiership games.

His final match was the first leg of the Premiership play-off as Hibernian beat Hamilton 2-0 at New Douglas Park on 21 May before they lost the second leg at home on penalties under Terry Butcher.

Accomplished: Madden pointed to the spot on his Edinburgh derby debut at the start of the year (Picture from Zimbio.com)
Accomplished: Madden pointed to the spot on his Edinburgh derby debut at the start of the year (Picture from Zimbio.com)

Overall, Madden brandished 113 yellows and seven red cards – five of which came during a six-game spell across December and January – whilst awarding seven penalties.

A Category One official since 2008, he has been a regular figure in the Scottish top-flight since his debut in January 2011 and became a Fifa official later that year.

Madden officiated Hibernian’s opening-day win over Livingston but has not crossed paths with Hearts since Callum Paterson netted a double to sink Hibs in the sides’ last Easter Road encounter.

League leaders Hearts have dropped just two points this term, winning nine of their 10 second-tier outings in a blistering start to Robbie Neilson’s managerial tenure.

In contrast, Alan Stubbs has found life in the Hibs hotseat more difficult with the Leith side boasting half the number of points (14) than Hearts have accumulated (28) so far.

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