JOHN Beaton has been appointed as the referee for the Scottish Premiership top-two clash between Celtic and Aberdeen this weekend.
The 33-year-old will take charge as champions and current leaders Celtic host the second-placed Dons at midday on Sunday (live on Sky Sports).
He will be assisted at Celtic Park by linesmen Alasdair Ross and Frank Connor while the fourth official will be John McKendrick.
Beaton – from Motherwell in North Lanarkshire – only officiated Celtic three weeks ago in their 2-0 victory over Dundee in the Scottish Cup.
In that Dens Park tie, he became the first referee in Scotland to use the vanishing spray device after it was introduced at the start of this month.
His only other Celtic match this season came in their opening Premiership fixture at McDiarmid Park when he sent off St Johnstone skipper Dave Mackay whilst awarding the Hoops a dubious penalty in their 3-0 win.
He has only overseen one Aberdeen game – their 3-2 win over Inverness Caley Thistle in the league at Pittodrie back in September.
Beaton sent off three players in his first seven matches this season but has now gone 15 games without producing a red card.
Overall, the Fifa whistler has dished out 75 yellow cards and awarded seven penalties in 22 matches in all competitions in 2014-15.
His most recent match was the Scottish Championship encounter between Cowdenbeath and Alloa at Central Park last weekend.
Beaton – whose cousin Steven Nicholls is also a referee – has risen up the pecking order since receiving his first SPL match between Dundee United and Dunfermline in March 2012 and became a Fifa referee in the same year.
He has been refereeing since 1997 and became a Category One official in 2009.
Last term, he oversaw the League Cup semi-final as Inverness beat Hearts on penalties at Hibs’ Easter Road stadium and has handled three lower division play-off matches.
Beaton has been an additional assistant referee for the 2013 Scottish Cup Final and several Champions League matches which Willie Collum and Craig Thomson have refereed.
Outside of football, Beaton is a communications officer at the University of Strathclyde and had aspirations to be a journalist including a three-year stint in Public Relations at Strathclyde Police.
This appointment may suggest that he is out of the running to officiate the League Cup Final between Celtic and Dundee United at Hampden Park in mid-March.
The two previous Celtic v Aberdeen meetings this season were overseen by Bobby Madden and Alan Muir.
Ronny Deila’s team – who were dumped out of the Europa League by Inter Milan on Thursday – have a three-point advantage over the Dons and a game in hand heading into the weekend.
Derek McInnes’s side though are unbeaten in 13 league matches since the 2-1 reverse against the Hoops on November 9.