Willie Collum to ref Hearts v Celtic in Scottish Cup

WILLIE Collum has been appointed as the referee for Celtic’s Scottish Cup fourth round clash with Hearts at Tynecastle on Sunday.

Familiar face: Collum has a wealth of experience on the domestic and European stage despite his young age
Familiar face: Collum has a wealth of experience on the domestic and European stage despite his young age

WILLIE Collum will referee the Scottish Cup fourth round encounter between Hearts and Celtic at Tynecastle this weekend.

The 35-year-old will be in the middle as the current leaders of the Championship and Premiership meet for the second time this term.

Collum was also at the helm at Parkhead in September – awarding both sides a penalty in Celtic’s 3-0 victory in the League Cup.

He will be assisted on Sunday by linesmen Graham Chambers and Stuart Stevenson while Stephen Finnie will be the fourth official.

Collum officiated his 19th match of the season in all competitions last Sunday, giving Aberdeen a controversial spotkick in their 1-0 victory at Partick Thistle in the top-flight.

It was one of 12 penalties the Fifa whistler has awarded already this term while he has brandished 79 yellow cards and sent off six players.

Collum – a Religious Education teacher at a high school in North Lanarkshire – is no stranger to this particular fixture having overseen two Hearts v Celtic games in Edinburgh last term.

He took charge of Celtic’s 7-0 thumping at the same stage of the Scottish Cup and a 3-1 win for the champions in the Premiership.

In the calendar year of 2012, Collum was also the man in black for two separate 4-0 wins for Celtic in the SPL at the home of the Jambos.

It will be the third time the Glasgow-born referee will encounter both sides this season and his second trip to Tynecastle after being in the firing line for an eventful Edinburgh derby clash between Hearts and Hibernian in August.

In control: Collum was on duty for St Johnstone's 2-1 win over Aberdeen at Ibrox in April
In control: Collum was on duty for St Johnstone’s 2-1 win over Aberdeen at Ibrox in April

Domestically, Collum – who refereed the 2013 Scottish Cup final and a semi-final last term – is now regarded by many as Scotland’s leading whistler – overtaking Craig Thomson in that respect.

Meanwhile, on the European front, he has been a Uefa Category One official since 2012 and has officiated both Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Champions League this campaign.

He was selected to officiate Barca’s group stage match with Ajax at the Nou Camp in October, just days after he was criticised by St Mirren for refusing to award them a penalty in their 1-0 home defeat by Inverness for a handball he admitted he had seen.

Hearts have dropped just four points from 14 league matches this season and have a nine-point lead over second-placed Rangers at the summit of the second tier.

Celtic sit top of the Premiership on goal difference – with 29 points from 13 games – but have a game in hand on the rest of the top six.

The 15:15 GMT kick-off will be screened live on Sky Sports as part of a double-header of Scottish Cup action, which is preceded by Rangers against Kilmarnock at Ibrox.

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