Scottish Premiership: Willie Collum to referee Hamilton v Celtic

The Euro 2016 referee will take charge of the champions’ televised lunchtime kick-off at the Super Seal Stadium on Christmas Eve.

Willie Collum referee (Motherwell v Celtic - 9th April 2016)
High-profile: Collum is now well-respected on the domestic, European and international stages after some impressive and consistent displays (Picture from Sky Sports)

WILLIE Collum has been confirmed as the referee for Celtic’s televised Christmas Eve trip to Hamilton Academical.

The 37-year-old will take charge of Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off as the champions travel to the Super Seal Stadium to face Accies (KO 12:30 GMT, live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted in Lanarkshire by Gavin Harris and Andy Milne, with Kevin Graham on fourth official duties.

Collum – Scotland’s Euro 2016 representative – will take charge of his 24th game of the season in all competitions, and his 11th in Scotland’s top-flight.

He has so far brandished 71 yellow cards, sent off four players and awarded eight penalties altogether.

The Glasgow-born whistler has largely stayed under the radar this season after being dropped for a period last term and in the spotlight following a number of controversial decisions.

However, Collum was slated by fans on social media after harshly penalising Kilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald for a perceived foul on Aberdeen’s James Maddison, which led to the Dons’ opening goal in their 4-0 win at Rugby Park back in October.

Meanwhile, the Lanarkshire-based referee has given penalties in both Hamilton matches he has officiated in the league in 2016-17.

His sixth-minute spotkick award, which proved to be decisive in Accies’ narrow win, against Aberdeen in October left Dons boss Derek McInnes raging with the official.

But Collum also gave a penalty against Accies, which Louis Moult converted as part of his four-goal salvo, in Motherwell’s Lanarkshire derby success at Fir Park in September.

The Religious Education teacher was due to oversee Hamilton’s Betfred Cup tie at Ayr United in the first round in July but had to withdraw through illness and was replaced by Nick Walsh.

Collum normally encounters the Hoops on a monthly basis but has only handled one game involving the champions this season – albeit it was arguably their most memorable one, the 5-1 derby success over 10-man Rangers at Celtic Park in September.

The appointment seemingly rules him out of selection for the upcoming Old Firm derby at Ibrox on New Year’s Eve.

Elsewhere in the Premiership on Saturday, Don Robertson will take charge of Rangers’ final match before Christmas at home to Inverness Caley Thistle – with Kylie McMullan, Joseph Lawson and fourth official Alan Muir completing the team of officials.

Collum has previously overseen two memorable games involving Hamilton and Celtic in recent years.

He infamously sent off three players, allowed Hamilton’s goal despite it being offside and gave Celtic a stoppage-time penalty in an incident-packed 1-1 draw in 2011.

And, last season, Collum replaced Craig Thomson as the man in charge for Celtic’s thumping 8-1 triumph over Accies at Parkhead and issued no cards.

The sides only met a matter of 10 days ago with Leigh Griffiths’ free-kick giving Celtic a 1-0 success – the 10th of 12 successive league wins the leaders have enjoyed under Brendan Rodgers to give them a 14-point lead at the top of the table.

Martin Canning’s Hamilton, meanwhile, are winless in eight games and sit ninth in the table but are only a point above bottom-club Partick Thistle.

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