BOBBY Madden has been confirmed as the referee for Rangers’ visit to Queen of the South on Sunday in the Ladbrokes Championship.
The 36-year-old will take charge of his first second-tier game of the campaign in the televised lunchtime encounter as the two early pacesetters face off at Palmerston Park (KO 12:30pm, live on BT Sport 1).
He will be assisted in Dumfries by linesmen Stuart Stevenson and Jordan Stokoe while the experienced Crawford Allan – who was the referee for Rangers’ last away league game at Alloa – will be the fourth official.
Madden – currently based in East Mains in Lanarkshire – has already overseen James Fowler’s Queens in their 2-0 victory over League One Stranraer in the Petrofac Training Cup first round.
He has since handled four Premiership matches involving two Dundee matches including their 2-0 defeat at Aberdeen last weekend in which he dismissed Gary Harkins for a second yellow which resulted in Adam Rooney’s late penalty conversion.
The Fifa whistler – originally from Stirling – has also been in the middle for the Champions League third qualifying round tie between APOEL Nicosia and FC Midtjylland earlier this month, in which he issued five yellows and a red card.
Domestically, Madden was promoted to Category One in 2009 and has been a regular in the Scottish top-flight since his first match in January 2011.
His most high-profile achievement came last term when receiving the honour of officiating his first major final in the League Cup at Hampden Park and had to make a big call when sending off Dundee United captain Sean Dillon in their 2-0 defeat by Celtic in March.
Madden has also handled Premiership play-off final ties in the last two seasons, semi-finals in both the League Cup and Scottish Cup, and several Europa League matches and Euro qualifiers since joining the Fifa list of international referees in 2010.
He averaged three yellow cards in 20 Premiership games in 2014-15 as well as sending off just three players and awarding three penalties overall.
Madden encountered Rangers twice in the second-tier – against Hearts and Hibs – and twice in the Scottish Cup last term but did not officiate any Queen of the South games.
He first took up the whistle in 2002 and recently revealed that an advert in the East Kilbride News – spotted by his brother Jamie – inspired him to become involved in refereeing after realising he wouldn’t make the grade as a professional player.
Meanwhile, Barry Cook will be the man in black for the Friday night televised game from the Championship as Falkirk entertain Dumbarton (KO 7:45pm, live on BBC ALBA).
Alan Muir is the referee for Hibernian’s match with Raith Rovers at Easter Road on Saturday while elsewhere, Nick Walsh will take charge of Alloa v Greenock Morton and St Mirren’s clash with Livingston in Paisley will be officiated by John McKendrick.
ELSEWHERE THIS WEEKEND….
John Beaton will take charge of his second Celtic game of the season when the Scottish champions host St Johnstone on Saturday afternoon (KO 3pm).
The 33-year-old from Lanarkshire was in the middle for their 2-0 Glasgow derby win over Partick Thistle at Firhill on August 9 as Ronny Deila’s men played in their first away league game of the new campaign.
Fifa whistler Beaton has handled six games across four different competitions so far this term – brandishing 16 yellow cards and awarding two penalties but is yet to send off a player.
The Motherwell-based official – who has been a Category One referee since 2012 – 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.
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.
AND THE REST…
Fifa referee Andrew Dallas will be in the middle for the second time this season in the Premiership when Dundee welcome Inverness Caley Thistle to Dens Park.
Uefa Super Cup whistler Willie Collum has only missed one round of top-flight fixtures so far and will again be in action when Hamilton host high-flying Hearts on Saturday.
The experienced Stephen Finnie will be on duty at Firhill as Partick Thistle welcome Aberdeen while Steven McLean will return to the top-flight after overseeing Rangers’ 1-0 win over Hibs in the Championship last weekend for Motherwell against Kilmarnock at Fir Park.
And Craig Thomson will handle his third Premiership game of the season when Ross County lock horns with out-of-form Dundee United.