REFEREE John Beaton will take charge of the first Dundee derby of the top-flight season when the two city rivals meet at Tannadice next Tuesday (August 11).
The 33-year-old from north Lanarkshire will be in the middle for the televised encounter when Dundee United play host to their close neighbours, who are separated by a mere 30 yards on Tannadice Street, in the Scottish Premiership.
He will be ably assisted by linesmen Stephen Mitchell and Alasdair Ross while the fourth official will be Craig Charleston.
Beaton will also officiate the West Glasgow derby between Partick Thistle and champions Celtic at Firhill on Sunday afternoon (KO 12:30pm, live on BT Sport).
It’s the second time he will oversee a Dundee derby with the other at Dens Park in March when Dundee earned their first win over United since 2004.
Beaton was largely untroubled in a relatively calm game but issued seven yellow cards and gave United a dubious penalty for an apparent handball by Kevin Thomson from Chris Erskine’s shot.
It was another progressive season for the Motherwell-based whistler in 2014-15 which included several high-profile games such as the Scottish Cup semi-final between Hibernian and Falkirk, the Challenge Cup Final at McDiarmid Park and the Premiership top-two encounter at Parkhead in March.
However, he hit the headlines during the close season after being headbutted when taking charge of a challenging Saudi Arabia derby between Al Hilal and Al Nasr in Riyadh.
Selected after the Saudi FA contacted their Scottish counterparts to request officials for the title decider, Beaton showed eight yellow cards and sent off three players including Salem Al Dawsari, who has since issued a personal apology to the official for the headbutt.
Beaton was not involved in the opening round of Premiership fixtures – instead he was the man in black for Hibernian’s 3-0 Scottish League Cup first round win over Montrose at Easter Road in which he showed two yellow cards.
Last term, Beaton handled 33 domestic matches in which he issued 114 yellow cards, sent off four players and awarded nine penalties.
He has often been the centre of controversy, though, in his career including last season when sending off St Johnstone captain Dave Mackay in their 3-0 defeat to Celtic in August for an apparent last-man foul on Derk Boerrigter, who was later banned for two matches for diving.
Beaton was in the middle for three other Dundee games last term – their 1-0 win at St Mirren in August, 2-0 victory over Hamilton in October and their 2-0 Scottish Cup fifth round defeat to Celtic at Dens Park in which he became the first Scottish referee to use vanishing spray.
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.
In 2013-14, Beaton oversaw the League Cup semi-final between Inverness and Hearts at Hibs’ Easter Road stadium and has handled three lower division play-off matches.
He 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.
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.
Bobby Madden – the referee for the previous Dundee derby on the final day of last season – oversaw Dundee’s outstanding 4-0 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday while Kevin Clancy was in the middle for Dundee United’s 1-0 reverse to Aberdeen on Sunday.
LAST SEASON’S DUNDEE DERBY OFFICIALS:
24 September – Dundee United 1-0 Dundee (Scottish League Cup, Tannadice)
Referee: Craig Thomson
1 January 2015 – Dundee United 6-2 Dundee (Scottish Premiership, Tannadice)
Referee: Kevin Clancy
8 April – Dundee 3-1 Dundee United (Scottish Premiership, Dens Park)
Referee: John Beaton
24 May – Dundee United 3-0 Dundee (Scottish Premiership, Tannadice)
Referee: Bobby Madden
ELSEWHERE THIS WEEKEND….
Willie Collum will take charge of St Johnstone’s first home game of the Ladbrokes Premiership season against Inverness Caley Thistle at McDiarmid Park on Saturday (KO 3pm).
It will serve as the final preparations before the 36-year-old Lanarkshire official jets off to the Georgian capital Tbilisi to officiate the Uefa Super Cup between La Liga rivals Barcelona and Sevilla next Tuesday.
Collum’s decision not to send off Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon for bringing down Ross County’s Jackson Irvine outside the box in the Premiership opener at Celtic Park has been heavily scrutinised.
He wil be assisted in Perth by linesmen Frank Connor and Graham Chambers while the fourth official is Colin Steven.
Craig Thomson will oversee his first game of the season when early high-flyers Dundee and newly-promoted Hearts meet at Dens Park (Saturday KO 3pm).
The 43-year-old Paisley whistler had to withdraw from the Petrofac Training Cup first round tie between Hibernian and Rangers at Easter Road on July 25 through illness.
Gavin Harris and Kylie McMullan are the assistant referees with Ryan Milne the fourth official.
Andrew Dallas will be in charge of Ross County against Hamilton Academical at the Global Energy Arena (Saturday KO 3pm).
Fifa official Bobby Madden will handle his second Premiership match of the campaign when Motherwell host Dundee United at Fir Park (Saturday KO 3pm).
On Sunday, Aberdeen’s top-flight match with Kilmarnock at Pittodrie will be officiated by Steven McLean (KO 3pm).
In the Scottish Championship, Kevin Clancy has been appointed to Rangers’ opening league match against relegated St Mirren at Ibrox on Friday night (KO 7:45pm, live on BT Sport).
And on Saturday, Don Robertson – who was promoted to a Category One official last term – will be the man in black for Hibernian’s first second-tier fixture at Dumbarton (KO 3pm).