KEVIN Clancy will be the referee for the 2018 Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Motherwell, the Scottish FA has confirmed.
The 34-year-old will take charge of the showpiece at Hampden Park on Saturday 19 May. The 15:00 BST kick-off will be screened live on both Sky Sports and BBC One Scotland.
Clancy will be assisted by Douglas Ross and David Roome, as he was for Motherwell’s 3-0 win over Aberdeen in the semi-finals, with Steven McLean on fourth official duties.
Don Robertson and Nick Walsh will act as additional assistant referees, as they did for Celtic’s 4-0 semi-final win over Rangers which Bobby Madden refereed.
Walsh also fulfilled the same role in last year’s final, while Robertson did so in the 2015 showpiece – which was the first to utilise the extra officials behind each goal.
Ross infuriated Celtic fans when he was caught on camera shouting “red, red, red” before Jozo Simunovic was sent off in their 3-2 Old Firm derby win over Rangers at Ibrox in March.
The assistant referee, who has also been the Conservative MP for Moray since June 2017, will officiate in his second Scottish Cup final after being part of Willie Collum’s team for Celtic’s 3-0 win over Hibernian in 2015.
His fellow linesman Roome will experience his second final of the campaign, having assisted referee Andrew Dallas for the Challenge Cup final in March as Inverness beat Dumbarton 1-0 at St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park.
Meanwhile, McLean was the referee for the 2016 Scottish Cup final when Hibernian beat Rangers 3-2 in a game marred by supporters invading the pitch at full-time, with both clubs later cleared of any wrongdoing.
A BIG DAY FOR CLANCY
It is arguably the biggest appointment of Clancy’s career to date as he takes charge of his first Scottish Cup final – the game which is considered to be the pinnacle of a Scottish referee’s career.
The Glasgow-born official will oversee his third major final, after handling the 2014 Challenge Cup final when Raith Rovers stunned Rangers with a 1-0 win at Hibernian’s Easter Road, and the 2016 League Cup final when Ross County beat Hibs 2-1 at Hampden Park.
He has also been the fourth official for two League Cup finals, has refereed several quarter-final and semi-final ties in domestic cup competitions and was an additional assistant referee for the 2014 Scottish Cup final, when St Johnstone beat Dundee United 2-0 at Celtic Park.
Therefore, his considerable big-game experience should stand him in good stead when the pressure will be at fever pitch on cup final day.
Clancy has seemingly been preferred to John Beaton, who was the only other Fifa referee yet to take charge of the showpiece but has connections to Lanarkshire, where Motherwell are situated.
As he has been given the weekend off for the final round of Scottish Premiership games and hasn’t yet been involved in the SPFL play-offs, he has plenty of time to prepare for the clash at the national stadium – which takes place on the same day as the Emirates FA Cup final in England.
HIS SEASON SO FAR
Despite a period of absence through injury, Clancy has continued to make giant strides during what has been another largely successful season for the promising whistler.
He has maintained his presence on the European stage, taking charge of Under-19 and Under-21 European Championship qualifiers, two Uefa Youth League group games and Europa League qualifiers, as well as being an additional assistant referee in the Champions League and Europa League.
On the domestic front, Clancy has been restricted to 15 Scottish Premiership matches because of his spell on the sidelines but still handled semi-finals in both major cup competitions, involving both sides he will encounter on 19 May.
He was in the middle for Celtic’s 4-2 win over Hibernian in the League Cup in October, in which he awarded Hibs a spotkick, and put in a good display as Motherwell swept aside Aberdeen with a 3-0 win in the Scottish Cup last month to reach the final – having already refereed a League Cup quarter-final between the sides in September which resulted in the same scoreline.
The Hampden season finale will be his fourth game in the Scottish Cup this season – after handling Hearts’ 1-0 win over Edinburgh rivals Hibernian at Tynecastle in round four, the Jambos’ 3-0 success against St Johnstone in the fifth round and the aforementioned victory for Motherwell against the Dons.
Clancy has already overseen a game between both finalists this term, booking four players as Celtic thumped Motherwell 5-1 at Celtic Park in the league at the start of December.
In February, he was recently subjected to a barrage of abuse from Hibs head coach Neil Lennon after sending him to the stand in the Edinburgh side’s 2-2 draw against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, following the award of a controversial penalty to Killie in the second half.
It led to Lennon slamming the refereeing standards in Scotland and claiming that managers should be able to send off officials. His comments and furious reaction led to him being given a three-match touchline ban.
Overall, he has refereed 40 games across eight different competitions so far in 2017/18 – brandishing 167 yellow cards, sending off five players and awarding seven penalties.
Celtic have only lost one of their 26 games with Clancy in charge – winning 23 and drawing twice. That solitary defeat, however, did come in their last match with the official at the helm – their 1-0 defeat at Kilmarnock at the start of February.
Meanwhile, Motherwell have a more mixed record with the Fifa referee in charge – winning half of their 20 games that Clancy has refereed in all competitions, drawing three and losing seven.
HOW HE HAS REACHED THIS STAGE
Clancy first took up the whistle in 2000 and was admitted to the Scottish FA five years later.
The Renfrewshire-based official was promoted to a Category One referee in 2009 and – having hugely impressed in the SFL – oversaw his first SPL match in April 2012.
Such was his fast progression, he was even recognised by Fifa – one of seven currently from Scotland on the list – before his promotion to the top-flight had been confirmed.
Clancy recently missed out on a place in Willie Collum’s team of officials for Euro 2016 in France in the summer, with Bobby Madden and John Beaton instead selected as additional assistant referees.
He has handled several Europa League games and been behind the goal in Champions League matches, and is widely regarded as a lenient referee who keeps control of games and rarely attracts controversy.
SOCIAL MEDIA REACTION
There hasn’t been much reaction to the news on Twitter as of yet, with most Motherwell fans seemingly relieved that it’s not Craig Thomson in charge.
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LAST 10 SCOTTISH CUP FINAL REFEREES
2017: Bobby Madden – Celtic 2 Aberdeen 1
2016: Steven McLean – Rangers 2 Hibernian 3
2015: Willie Collum – Inverness 2 Falkirk 1
2014: Craig Thomson – St Johnstone 2 Dundee United 0 (Celtic Park)
2013: Willie Collum – Hibernian 0 Celtic 3
2012: Craig Thomson – Hibernian 1 Hearts 5
2011: Calum Murray – Motherwell 0 Celtic 3
2010: Dougie McDonald – Dundee United 3 Ross County 0
2009: Craig Thomson – Rangers 1 Falkirk 0
2008: Stuart Dougal – Queen of the South 2 Rangers 3
CELTIC ON CUSP OF DOUBLE TREBLE
The Hoops have the opportunity to complete an unprecedented feat of winning back-to-back Trebles – consisting of the Premiership title, League Cup and Scottish Cup.
Celtic wrapped up a seventh consecutive league crown by thrashing Old Firm rivals Rangers 5-0 at Hampden Park at the end of April and beat Motherwell 2-0 at the national stadium in the final of the League Cup back in November, thanks to a James Forrest strike and Moussa Dembele penalty.
Dembele’s trophy-clinching second goal from the spot came as the result of a controversial incident, as Motherwell’s French defender Cedric Kipre was given his marching orders by referee Craig Thomson for the feintest of brushes on Scott Sinclair inside the box.
Now only the men from Fir Park stand in the way of yet more history for Celtic and Brendan Rodgers, who has already won every domestic trophy available to him since arriving at Parkhead in the summer of 2016.
But Stephen Robinson’s Motherwell can take some encouragement from their most recent meeting with the champions, having held them to a goalless draw at Fir Park in March, despite playing with 10 men since the 41st minute when Kipre was again dismissed by ref Thomson.
Celtic are already the most successful side in the history of the Scottish Cup – having reached the final of the famous old competition for the 57th time and they are looking for a 38th triumph.
The Hoops had to come from behind to beat Aberdeen 2-1 in last season’s final, which was refereed by Bobby Madden, thanks to a late goal from Tom Rogic.
This year’s showpiece is a repeat of the 2011 Scottish Cup final, which the Hoops won 3-0 under Neil Lennon – a game refereed by the now retired official Calum Murray.
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