Willie Collum to take charge of Celtic v Aberdeen

Willie Collum to handle Celtic v Aberdeen at Parkhead on Saturday while John Beaton is set for Rangers’ trip to Hibernian on Sunday.

Willie Collum speaks to James Tavernier (Hibs v Rangers - 25th July 2015)
Pressure: Uefa Elite Category official Collum is no stranger to handling high-profile games and dealing with difficult situations (Picture from BBC ALBA)

WILLIE Collum will be the referee when the Scottish Premiership’s top two meet for the second time this season at Celtic Park this weekend. 

The 36-year-old from Lanarkshire will be the man in charge as champions Celtic seek to go seven points clear of second-placed Aberdeen at the top of the table in Saturday’s lunchtime game (KO 12:30pm, live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted by linesmen Frank Connor and Dougie Potter in Glasgow while the fourth official is Barry Cook.

The only two occasions Collum has handled this particular fixture have been in the Scottish Cup but surprisingly it will be the first time he will oversee a league encounter between the Hoops and the Dons.

Collum dished out six yellow cards in Aberdeen’s 2-1 Scottish Cup win in 2014 at Parkhead and sent off Dons defender Andy Considine and awarded Celtic two penalties in their 4-0 semi-final victory at Hampden Park in 2010.

Five of the last 10 meetings between the sides have been refereed by Craig Thomson, including this season’s reverse encounter at Pittodrie which the Dons won 2-1 in September when he was criticised by some for failing to send off Considine for conceding a penalty.

Both of Collum’s Celtic games came in August in which he was widely scrutinised for failing to send off Craig Gordon on the opening weekend against Ross County before officiating their 3-1 win over Dundee United at Tannadice.

It will be the second time the Religious Education teacher from Belshill will be in the middle for a Dons match this term after their 2-1 win over Motherwell at Fir Park in mid-August.

Willie Collum referee
Next assignment: Collum will also be in charge of the League Cup quarter-final between Hibs and Dundee United next Wednesday (Picture from Sky Sports)

Overall, the Glasgow-born whistler has brandished 66 yellow cards, sent off five players and awarded eight penalties in 17 games in all competitions this season.

Collum officiated a Premiership game in eight of the first nine rounds of fixtures but has only overseen two in the last month.

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

He came under fire in September 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.

John Beaton in action (Partick Thistle v Celtic - 9th August 2015)
Big games: Beaton has refereed a Glasgow derby, Dundee derby and Inverness v Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership so far this season (Picture from BT Sport)

Elsewhere, John Beaton will take charge of Sunday’s Scottish Championship clash between Hibernian and leaders Rangers (KO 12:30pm, live on Sky Sports).

The 33-year-old will be assisted by Willie Conquer and Graeme Stewart with Euan Anderson in control of fourth official duties.

Beaton was in the middle for the play-off meeting between the two promotion rivals at Easter Road in May, which Hibs won 1-0 but lost 3-2 on aggregate.

The Motherwell-based whistler also handled the Petrofac Training Cup first round tie last season at Ibrox which Rangers won 2-1 after extra time after he sent off Hibs striker Danny Handling for a robust challenge on David Templeton.

He has overseen Hibernian once so far this term in their 3-0 League Cup first round win over Montrose in August but is yet to encounter Rangers in any competition.

John Beaton referee (Hibernian v Rangers - 1st November 2015)
In the middle: Beaton booked six players in Celtic’s 2-1 win over Hearts in the League Cup quarter-finals in midweek (Picture from Sky Sports)

Domestically, Beaton has officiated 13 games, brandishing 53 yellow cards, three red cards and awarding three penalties.

It will be his third Championship game of the season on Sunday when the top-two meet in the capital with Rangers having won all 11 league outings so far and looking to go 11 points clear of Alan Stubbs’ team.

Mark Warburton’s Gers won the reverse meeting at Ibrox in August courtesy of James Tavernier’s free-kick – a game which was refereed by Steven McLean.

Beaton – one of seven Scottish Fifa officials and cousin of fellow referee Steven Nicholls – took charge of several high-profile games last season including Hibernian’s 1-0 defeat by Falkirk in the Scottish Cup semi-finals, Celtic’s 4-0 win over Aberdeen and the Challenge Cup final.

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.

The former Braidhurst High pupil has been refereeing since 2001 and became a Category One official in 2009.

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