Referee Collum to oversee Rangers’ visit to Morton

Willie Collum will be the man in the middle at Cappielow for leaders Rangers’ trip to Greenock Morton in the Scottish Championship on Sunday.

Willie Collum referee
Second-tier: Collum handled eight games in the Scottish Championship last season – three involving Rangers (Picture from Sky Sports)

WILLIE Collum will be the man in the middle for Rangers’ televised trip to Greenock Morton in the Scottish Championship on Sunday.

The 36-year-old from Lanarkshire will take charge at Cappielow as Mark Warburton’s table-toppers bid for an eighth successive league win this season (KO 12:30pm, live on BT Sport).

He will be ably assisted by Michael Banks and David Ingram while the fourth official will be Gavin Duncan.

It will be the second time Collum will oversee the Gers this term after replacing Craig Thomson for their 6-2 Petrofac Training Cup first-round win over Hibernian at Easter Road in July.

The Religious Education teacher from Belshill has endured a busy start to the campaign having already officiated 11 games in all competitions – brandishing 38 yellow cards, sending off two players and awarding three penalties.

After refereeing seven games in the first eight rounds of top-flight fixtures, Collum will oversee his first Championship match of the season this weekend.

He came under fire last month for controversially dismissing Hearts’ Callum Paterson in their 3-2 Premiership defeat at Hamilton – a red card that was later rescinded following claims by Jambos head coach Robbie Neilson that he expected one of his players to be sent off when he saw who the officials were.

Neilson – who is appealing his SFA charge by compliance officer Tony McGlennan – later implied that Collum needs ‘a bit of help’ before his upcoming Hampden hearing.

Collum was also criticised on social media for dismissing two Gent players during their Champions League debut against Lyon in the group stage clash in Belgium last week.

Last week, it emerged in the Scottish media that Collum has issued an astonishing 112 red cards since 2005 at an average of 10 every season – including nine Hearts players.

It will be his first encounter with Morton since their 3-1 Championship defeat at Dumbarton in August 2013 in which he awarded the Greenock side a penalty but didn’t produce any cards.

The notoriously card-happy Collum – a father of three born in Glasgow – oversaw the biggest match of his 15-year career to date last month when handed the prestigious Uefa Super Cup in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

Mark Warburton on sidelines (v Queen of the South - 30th August 2015)
Bouncebackability: The ex-Brentford boss will hope his side can respond to their first defeat under his tenure at Cappielow (Picture from BT Sport)

Rangers go into the game on the back of their first defeat of the campaign following their 3-1 League Cup loss to St Johnstone at Ibrox – which ended their 11-game winning run.

Meanwhile, Jim Duffy’s Morton – who won the League One title last term – knocked Premiership side Motherwell out after extra time to progress to the fourth round.

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