Bobby Madden to referee first Scottish Premiership game since cancer scare

The Fifa whistler will oversee his first top-flight game since the end of August when the 10-man Dons were beaten 4-1 at Celtic Park after recovering from a battle with thyroid cancer.

Bobby Madden looks on
Back in business: Madden will be in the middle for his ninth game of the season – and only his fourth in Scotland’s top-flight (Picture from Sky Sports)

REFEREE Bobby Madden will take charge of his first Scottish Premiership game in over three months, following his scare battling a rare disease. 

The 38-year-old returned to action after two months out recovering from thyroid cancer at Glebe Park last Saturday for Livingston’s 3-0 over Brechin City in League One.

Although he didn’t wish to discuss his illness, the East Mains official said this week he was happy to be back refereeing and is “keeping very well”.

Now, Madden will oversee the televised Friday night encounter between Partick Thistle and Aberdeen at Firhill.

It will be his first top-flight match since he awarded Celtic a penalty and sent off Aberdeen defender Mark Reynolds for two bookable offences in the champions’ 4-1 win over the Dons on August 27.

Before that game at Celtic Park, he had handled qualifiers in the Champions League and Europa League, two Betfred Cup ties and two other Premiership matches.

It’s understood Madden had been diagnosed at the end of last season but postponed surgery until after Euro 2016 – where he was an additional assistant as part of Willie Collum’s team of officials.

There were a number of positive messages from well-wishers on social media, as Madden was eased back onto the pitch last weekend.

The Fifa whistler was also an additional assistant for Craig Thomson in Atletico Madrid’s last-gasp 2-1 victory over FC Rostov in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Madden – who oversaw Celtic’s 2-0 win over Dundee United in the 2015 League Cup Final – has so far brandished 17 yellow cards, sent off two players and awarded five penalties this term.

Three of those spotkicks were controversially awarded to St Johnstone in the space of 23 minutes during their 3-0 League Cup win over Falkirk in July – after which Bairns boss Peter Houston said he would monitor the official’s penalty calls throughout the season.

Domestically, Madden was promoted to Category One in 2009 and has built up a wealth of experience and respect to become a Scottish top-flight regular since his first match in January 2011.

He first took up the whistle in 2002 and last year 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.

He will encounter Alan Archibald’s Thistle side for the first time since their 1-0 defeat against Hearts at Tynecastle on March 5, in which only one player was booked.

Madden will be assisted in Glasgow’s Maryhill for the first game of the weekend by Stuart Stevenson and Gary Hilland, with Stephen Finnie on fourth official duties.

Elsewhere, Crawford Allan will take charge of Celtic’s match with Inverness on Saturday and Andrew Dallas will be in control of Rangers’ televised trip to Ross County on Sunday lunchtime.

You can see a full list of SPFL match official appointments here.

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