Ref Andrew Dallas set for first Celtic match

Fifa referee Andrew Dallas will take charge of his first match involving Celtic this weekend when the Scottish Premiership leaders visit League One in the Scottish Cup.

Andrew Dallas referee (Falkirk v Raith Rovers - 27th Dec 2014)
New faces: Dallas – who has been fourth official for Celtic games in the past – will encounter Stranraer for the first time in almost 12 months (Picture from BBC ALBA)

REFEREE Andrew Dallas will take charge of his first Celtic match this weekend as the Hoops travel to Stranraer in the Scottish Cup.

The 27-year-old – who is the son of former World Cup referee Hugh – has enjoyed a meteoric rise having been on the Fifa list for two years already.

But he will be under a different spotlight when the Scottish Premiership champions visit the League One part-timers in a fourth-round tie expected to be watched by millions on Sky Sports on Sunday (KO 15:15 GMT).

Dallas will be assisted at Stair Park by Graeme Leslie and Stuart Hodge while Gavin Ross will be the fourth official.

The Lanarkshire-based official took charge of his first Premiership game in August 2014 and has officiated 13 more since.

But he was criticised last August by Inverness boss John Hughes, who was handed a touchline ban for claiming Dallas was “out of his depth” and “not ready for the top-flight” after handing out eight yellows and a red in a 1-1 draw with Dundee.

Dallas dished out another eight yellows in a fiery Petrofac Training Cup quarter-final at Ibrox in September as Rangers knocked out holders Livingston.

Rangers v Livingston - Petrofac Training Cup Quarter-Final
Tough times: Dallas failed to spot Hugo Faria’s elbow on Rangers’ Nathan Oduwa and let a number of other challenges go in a bruising encounter (Picture from Getty Images)

Dallas has brandished 59 yellow cards, sent off two players and awarded four penalties in 13 games in all competitions so far.

He put in a competent display in his only game of 2016 in the Renfrewshire derby in the Championship – issuing just four bookings as St Mirren won 1-0 at Morton.

Dallas has been an additional assistant referee and fourth official for a number of Europa League and international games while his main domestic appointment was a League Two play-off semi-final between Queen’s Park and Arbroath.

Ronny Deila on sidelines (v Aberdeen - 12th Sept 2015)
Top: Deila’s side hold a three-point lead at the Scottish Premiership summit with a game in hand on second-placed Aberdeen (Picture from Sky Sports)

36-time winners Celtic are bidding to win the oldest national trophy in world football for only the second time in the last five seasons after their 2013 triumph – and for the first time under boss Ronny Deila.

The Hoops thrashed Hearts 4-0 at Tynecastle last season at this stage before eventually being knocked out by Inverness in the semi-finals following a controversial 3-2 defeat in extra time – where Dallas was stood behind the goal and failed to spot Josh Meekings’ handball.

Stair Park main stand (Stranraer stadium v Dundee Utd - 8th Feb 2015)
Stair Park: Stranraer – the third oldest club in Scotland – holds 6,250 supporters (Picture from Sky Sports)

Stranraer finished second in their second season in the third-tier last term but lost 4-1 to Forfar in the play-off semi-finals and lost manager Stephen Aitken to Championship side Dumbarton.

The Blues – now under the stewardship of Brian Reid – knocked out fellow League One side Dunfermline after a replay at this stage a year ago but were beaten 3-0 at home by Dundee United in a televised fifth round tie.

The Dumfries-based outfit currently sit eighth in League One, two points above the relegation play-off place but have won their last two league games.

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