JOHN Beaton will be the man in the middle for the 2015 Ramsdens Cup Final between Livingston and Alloa Athletic on Easter Sunday, it has been confirmed.
The 33-year-old will take charge of the first national final in his 14-year officiating career when the two Scottish Championship sides contest the 24th Challenge Cup showpiece at St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park stadium (KO 4:05pm live on BBC ALBA).
He will be assisted in Perthshire by fellow Category One officials John McCrossan and Brian Templeton while the fourth official will be Barry Cook.
The North Lanarkshire referee has overseen 26 games in all competitions so far this season. He has brandished 85 yellow cards, sent off four players and awarded only two penalties.
Following this game, Beaton will be the man in black for the Dundee derby at Dens Park on Wednesday night in the Scottish Premiership.
The Fifa whistler took charge of Alloa as recently as February 21 in their 2-0 league win away to fellow strugglers Cowdenbeath.
His last encounter with Livingston came in their 2-1 victory over Dumbarton at the Bet Butler Stadium back in September 2013.
LAST 10 RAMSDENS CUP FINAL REFEREES
2014: Kevin Clancy
2013: Crawford Allan
2012: Brian Winter
2011: Euan Norris
2010: Charlie Richmond
2009: Calum Murray
2008: Eddie Smith
2007: Craig Thomson
2006: Stuart Dougal
2005: Kenny Clark
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 2001 and became a Category One official in 2009.
Last term, Beaton 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 in the 2013 Scottish Cup Final and several Champions League matches which Willie Collum and Craig Thomson have refereed.
He has been in the middle for 16 Premiership games this season including the pivotal top-two encounter between champions Celtic and challengers Aberdeen at Celtic Park last month where he put in a competent display.
The Motherwell-based referee also controlled Celtic’s 2-0 win over Dundee at Dens Park in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals as he became the first official in Scotland to utilise the vanishing spray device since its introduction.
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.
Last season’s Ramsdens Cup Final was officiated by Premiership official Kevin Clancy as Rangers slumped to a shock 1-0 defeat against Raith Rovers at Hibernian’s Easter Road.
Alloa – under caretaker boss Paddy Connolly following the resignation of Barry Smith – are seeking to win the competition for the second time after their 1999/2000 triumph.
Meanwhile, Mark Burchill’s Livingston have never lifted the trophy but were runners-up in 2000-01 after losing on penalties to Airdrieonians after a 2-2 draw in the final.
Livi are bottom of the second-tier – five points adrift of the safety – while Alloa are six points above them in eighth place.