ROMANIAN referee Ovidiu Hategan has been selected to officiate Scotland’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Georgia in Tbilisi on Friday night.
The 35-year-old from Arad will take charge of the Group D encounter at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena (KO 17:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).
He will be assisted by fellow countrymen Octavian Sovre, Sebastian Gheorge, fourth official Radu Ghinguleac and additional assistants Alexandru Tudor and Sebastian Coltescu.
Hategan – who has been a Fifa-listed official since 2008 – is best known to British football fans for failing to stop Manchester City’s Champions League match with CSKA Moscow in October 2013 after Yaya Toure complained of racial abuse from fans and was subsequently investigated.
In that same month, the medical doctor also handled his only other previous Scotland international and awarded the Tartan Army a spotkick which Barry Bannan missed in their final 2014 World Cup qualifier against Croatia at Hampden Park.
Hategan has also overseen Europa League games involving Tottenham, Swansea City and Hull City in the past three seasons.
His most recent European outing was the Europa League play-off second leg between Slovakian side MSK Zilina and Athletic Bilbao of Spain last month – in which he only brandished two yellow cards.
Hategan is one of 29 Uefa Elite Category officials, regarded as the best in the business – a status he has held since 2011.
His first tournament came in the summer when handling two games at the Under-20s World Cup in New Zealand – including the quarter-final between Senegal and Uzbekistan.
It will be the third Euro 2016 qualifer that Hategan will take charge of after Italy’s 1-0 Group H win over Malta last October, in which he sent off two players, and Belgium’s 5-0 Group B victory against Cyprus in February.
Czech Republic whistler Miroslav Zelinka was in the middle for Scotland’s 1-0 win over Georgia at Ibrox last year in the reverse fixture.
Gordon Strachan’s team sit third in Group D and are unbeaten in the five qualifiers since the 2-1 defeat to Germany at the start of the campaign but still await a first away victory.
Elsewhere in the group, Germany’s decisive top-two clash with Poland will be officiated by Italy’s Nicola Rizzoli – who handled Scotland’s previous qualifier against the Republic of Ireland in June.
And Croatian official Marijo Strahonja will be the man in black for the Republic of Ireland’s trip to minnows Gibraltar.
During the international break, the Tartan Army will also face world champions Germany at the national stadium in Glasgow on Monday night.
SCOTLAND’S EURO 2016 QUALIFYING CAMPAIGN SO FAR:
7 September 2014 Germany 2-1 Scotland (Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund)
Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen (Norway)
11 October 2014 Scotland 1-0 Georgia (Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow)
Referee: Miroslav Zelinka (Czech Republic)
14 October 2014 Poland 2-2 Scotland (National Stadium, Warsaw)
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain)
14 November 2014 Scotland 1-0 Republic of Ireland (Celtic Park, Glasgow)
Referee: Milorad Mazic (Serbia)
29 March 2015 Scotland 6-1 Gibraltar (Hampden Park, Glasgow)
Referee: Mattias Gestranius (Finland)
13 June 2015 Republic of Ireland 1-1 Scotland (AVIVA Stadium, Dublin)
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)
ELSEWHERE ON FRIDAY NIGHT….
Scottish referee Willie Collum will be at the helm for Denmark’s Group I qualifier against Albania in Copenhagen.
The 36-year-old from Lanarkshire – who oversaw six Champions League matches last season and the Uefa Super Cup last month – will take charge of his fourth Euro 2016 qualifier.
Collum is in the spotlight again domestically after a latest controversial decision in sending off Hearts defender Callum Paterson in their 3-2 defeat at Hamilton Academical last Saturday which ended the Jambos’ 100% start to the Scottish Premiership season.
The Religious Education teacher – last season’s Scottish Cup final referee – will be assisted by Francis Connor and Irish linesman Damien MacGraith with Alastair Mather the fourth official, and additional assistants John Beaton and Bobby Madden.