REFEREE Willie Collum will take charge of Hamilton Accies’ Scottish Premiership clash with Aberdeen this weekend.
The 36-year-old will be the man in the middle at New Douglas Park on Sunday afternoon for the televised encounter (KO 15:30 GMT live on Sky Sports).
He will be assisted in South Lanarkshire by linesmen David McGeachie and Dougie Potter while Don Robertson has been assigned to fourth official duties.
Derek McInnes’s Dons – who are joint leaders heading into the weekend – travel to South Lanarkshire to face a Hamilton side sliding down the top six after an inconsistent run under player-manager Martin Canning.
Collum appeared to have been overlooked last month for two rounds of Premiership games having been demoted to the Championship and fourth official duties in successive weeks after sending off three players and awarding four penalties in his first two matches of 2015.
He pointed to the spot three times and sent off St Mirren’s Kenny McLean and Kilmarnock’s Craig Slater in a contentious contest at Rugby Park on New Year’s Day with McLean later winning his appeal for the red card he received following the clash with Ross Barbour.
Three days later, he sent off Motherwell defender Stephen McManus for an apparent handball on the goalline – even though the ball appeared to strike him on the shoulder – and awarded a penalty for Aberdeen which Adam Rooney converted in a 2-0 Dons win at Fir Park.
Last weekend, he was at the helm for Inverness Caley Thistle’s 2-1 victory over Partick Thistle in the Scottish Cup fourth round at Firhill.
Collum is widely renowned for issuing plenty of cards in domestic games – despite his reluctance to do so in European outings – and is often the centre of controversy but is regarded as a fit and highly rated official who tends to get the big decisions right.
The Religious Education teacher – based in Belshill, North Lanarkshire – has officiated 30 games in all competitions so far this season – brandishing 100 yellow cards, sending off 11 players and awarding an astonishing 18 penalties.
Domestically, Collum – who refereed the 2013 Scottish Cup Final and 2012 Scottish League Cup Final – 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.
Glasgow-born Collum – a father to three daughters – first took up the whistle at the age of 14 and has been a Category One official since June 2004.
He was promoted to the Scottish Premier League a year later and was first included on the Fifa list of international referees in 2006.
Hamilton – who were promoted via the Premiership play-offs last season – are winless in six games since Canning took over the managerial reins from Norwich-bound Alex Neil and have both won and lost 3-0 in the previous two encounters with the Dons this term.
Despite exits to Dundee and Dundee United in the domestic cups, Aberdeen have won nine of their last 11 league games in their pursuit of leaders Celtic – who could go clear at the top if they avoid defeat away to St Johnstone on Saturday.
It will also be the first time the vanishing spray – a foam canister used to mark 10-yard walls for free-kicks around the penalty area – will be used in the Premiership after being implemented last weekend in the Scottish Cup.