BOBBY Madden has been confirmed as the referee for the 2015 Scottish League Cup Final between Dundee United and Celtic.
The 36-year-old will be in the middle as the Scottish Premiership champions face last season’s Scottish Cup runners-up at Hampden Park on Sunday, 15 March (KO 3pm live on BBC Scotland).
He will be assisted by linesmen Stephen Mitchell and Graeme Leslie while the fourth official will be Kevin Clancy – who also carried out the same role in the 2013 final.
It will be Madden’s first major domestic final although the Stirling-based whistler oversaw semi-finals in both the League Cup and Scottish Cup last season while he was also an additional assistant referee for the 2013 Scottish Cup Final.
The high-profile appointment came on the same day he was selected to take charge of Hibernian’s Scottish Cup quarter-final with Berwick Rangers at Easter Road on Sunday while he will be the fourth official for Motherwell’s Premiership match with Kilmarnock on Saturday.
The fitness instructor has officiated 31 games in all competitions so far this season – only Willie Collum has handled more among Scotland’s referees.
The most recent was Hearts’ astonishing 10-0 win over Cowdenbeath last Saturday at Tynecastle in which he awarded the Jambos three spotkicks and sent off Blue Brazil defender Lewis Toshney in the first half.
Overall, he has brandished 106 yellow cards, sent off six players and awarded nine penalties.
Madden has refereed Celtic four times already this term – three of which came in the first three months of the season against Inverness, Aberdeen and Ross County in the league while the last was at home to Motherwell on 21 January.
He has also taken charge of four Dundee United league victories over St Mirren in August, St Johnstone in September, Ross County in December and Hamilton Accies on 12 January.
Madden enjoyed a largely successful season in 2013-14, overseeing 42 games in total including 24 Scottish Premiership games.
He oversaw Aberdeen’s 4-0 League Cup semi win over St Johnstone and Dundee United’s 3-1 Scottish Cup semi victory over Rangers and was in the middle for three Edinburgh derbies throughout the calendar year of 2014.
His final match of last season was the first leg of Hibernian’s Premiership play-off in which they beat Hamilton 2-0 at New Douglas Park in May before losing the second leg at home after a penalty shoot-out.
Madden – who has been a referee since 2002 – was promoted to Category One in 2009 and has been a regular in the Scottish top-flight since his first match in January 2011.
A year later he became a Fifa official – one of seven from Scotland currently on the list of international referees.
Madden’s status is continuing to grow on the continental stage having overseen three Europa League ties this season while he has also been part of the Champions League officiating teams as an additional assistant referee.
His refereeing style – of allowing the game to flow without the use of cards unless necessary – and consistent performances is reflected in his position on the merit table while many among refereeing circles believe the appointment is well-deserved.
Inevitably, supporters of both Celtic and Dundee United have been having their say on social media…
Other contenders to have been awarded the showpiece were Kevin Clancy, John Beaton and Crawford Allan while Steven McLean was in charge of last year’s contest which Aberdeen won on penalties at the expense of Inverness Caley Thistle at Celtic Park.
It will be the second of three meetings in a matter of weeks between Dundee United and Celtic, who also face each other in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals this weekend and in the league in a fortnight’s time.
Jackie McNamara’s Tangerines lost the Scottish Cup Final to Tayside rivals St Johnstone last May while it will be a first final for Celtic boss Ronny Deila since the Norwegian replaced Neil Lennon last summer as the current Premiership leaders target a first treble since 2000-01.