Fifa referee Steven McLean will take charge of the weekend’s first and stand-out fixture at Pittodrie as the top-flight’s top two go head to head for the second time this season.
REFEREE Steven McLean will take charge when Celtic visit Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership this weekend.
The 35-year-old Fifa official will make his first trip to Pittodrie of the season as the champions look to move further clear at the top of the table this Saturday lunchtime (KO 12:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).
In their previous meeting back in August, Bobby Madden sent off Dons defender Mark Reynolds and awarded the Hoops a penalty late on in their 4-1 win at Parkhead.
McLean will encounter Celtic for the first time since he oversaw his only other match between the sides who have finished in the top two in the last three seasons earlier this year.
He gave out four yellow cards and put in a good display in Aberdeen’s 2-1 victory over Celtic at the start of February – one of two defeats the champions suffered on their trips to the Granite City last term.
Craig Thomson had a busy time last September as the Dons won by the same scoreline, awarding a spotkick for both sides and sending off Dons winger Jonny Hayes for a strong challenge on Mikael Lustig.
Meanwhile, McLean will oversee his second Aberdeen game of the current season after their 3-1 win at Dundee in September – as the Dons’ Kenny McLean converted a penalty and Dundee’s Mark O’Hara was dismissed late on for a second bookable offence.
McLean handled seven Aberdeen games in 2015-16 but it will be his first match at Pittodrie since the end of February – a 1-1 draw with St Johnstone, in which he awarded the visitors a controversial late penalty.
Before taking charge of the stand-out match of the weekend, he made the calls at Dens Park for bottom club Dundee’s 2-0 defeat by Partick Thistle on Wednesday night – booking six players in his sixth top-flight game this term.
McLean – a Fifa referee since 2010 who refereed his first SPL game in November 2008 – has so far issued 67 yellow cards, sent off two players and awarded three penalties in 15 games this season in all competitions.
The eagerly-awaited contest – a dress rehearsal for next month’s Betfred Cup Final – will bring together challengers Aberdeen and leaders Celtic, who are four points clear having played two games fewer.
Elsewhere, Nick Walsh is to oversee Motherwell against Ross County, John Beaton will handle Rangers’ clash with Kilmarnock and Barry Cook has been appointed to St Johnstone against Partick Thistle.
You can see a full list of this weekend’s SPFL match official appointments here.
Last month, he dished out a massive 11 yellow cards and awarded Hearts a controversial spotkick when Jamie Walker appeared to dive over Kieran Tierney in their 2-1 defeat by champions Celtic at Tynecastle on the opening weekend of the Premiership season.
The Motherwell official, who first became a referee in 1997, has officiated the 2015 Ramsdens Cup Final, two League Cup semi-finals, two Scottish Cup semis including one last season, and been an additional assistant referee for two Scottish Cup Finals.
A Category One official since 2009, he has established himself as a regular in the Scottish Premiership since his first game – Dundee United’s 3-0 win over Dunfermline in March 2012 – and is one of seven Scottish referees on Fifa’s international list.
Beaton, whose cousin Steven Nicholls is also a referee, hit the headlines last year when he was headbutted during a volatile derby in Saudi Arabia between Al Hilal and Al Nasr – during which he issued three red cards.
It will be the second time the Lanarkshire-based whistler will encounter both teams in 2016-17 already.
Beaton was in the middle for Aberdeen’s 2-1 win over Partick Thistle at Pittodrie on August 20, in which he sent off Thistle captain Sean Welsh who showed dissent towards him to earn a second yellow late on.
He also gave the Gers an early spotkick on their way to a 3-0 win over Stranraer at Ibrox in July’s Betfred Cup group phase in the first round.
Sunday’s televised contest will see one of Scottish football’s most intense feuds resume as the Dons and the Gers lock horns for the first time since a 1-1 draw at Ibrox in the top-flight in January 2012.
With so much time having passed, only Craig Thomson and Willie Collum have officiated a game between the sides out of the current crop of Scottish referees.
Heading into the weekend, Derek McInnes’s side and Mark Warburton’s Gers boast almost identical records – with nine points from six games – and sit fifth and sixth respectively in the table.
Nick Walsh will take charge of his first Celtic game when the champions host Kilmarnock at Parkhead on Saturday (KO 15:00 BST).
The 30-year-old is seemingly in favour with the SFA at the moment, with this his fourth top-flight refereeing appointment of the season already, having only been promoted to Category One over the summer.
But it is a reflection of his lenient and consistent start to the campaign – he has only brandished six yellow cards in his three other Premiership games, which unusually have all been won by a 2-0 scoreline.
But he was public enemy number one at Easter Road last weekend as Ayr shocked Hibernian with a 2-1 victory after Hibs midfielder Marvin Bartley became his first red card victim of the season for a challenge on Jamie Adams.
The decision came at a crucial time and led Hibs boss Neil Lennon to blame what he described as “a poor refereeing performance” for the Championship title favourites’ loss.
Walsh was one of the most card-happy officials in Scotland having brandished 123 yellow cards and 14 red cards in 32 games last term, as well as awarding 10 penalties.
The Glasgow-born official was a regular in the Championship and fourth official for numerous Premiership games in the last two seasons.
Walsh will be assisted by Graham Chambers, Alasdair Ross and fourth official Stephen Finnie, with Willie Young keeping a close eye on his display as the SPFL referee observer.
He has so far stayed under the spotlight in his top-flight assignments but could be in for a tougher afternoon with more focus on the champions and every call under close scrutiny.
Despite leading the table by three points, Brendan Rodgers’s Celtic will want to bounce back after losing their 100 per cent league record in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at Inverness.
Meanwhile, Lee Clark’s Kilmarnock, who survived the play-offs last season, sit ninth heading into the weekend with six points from as many games and will hope to replicate their goalless draw in Glasgow last term.
You can view the rest of this weekend’s SPFL match official appointments here.
Thomson will be remembered by fans of both clubs for taking charge of the 2012 Scottish Cup Final, during which he dismissed Hibs defender Pa Kujabi for a second yellow card and awarded Hearts a penalty for a foul which took place outside the box, with the score at 2-1.
Bobby Madden will referee Celtic’s Scottish Premiership visit to bottom-club Dundee United on Friday night in a televised Tannadice clash (KO 19:45 GMT).
BOBBY Madden will be the referee for Celtic’s televised Scottish Premiership match against Dundee United on Friday night (KO 19:45 GMT).
The 37-year-old will take charge as the leaders take on the bottom club at Tannadice, live on BT Sport, to kick start the second round of top-flight fixtures in 2016.
He will be assisted on Tayside by linesmen Andrew McWilliam and Ralph Gordon while the fourth official will be Alan Newlands.
Madden has not officiated a game since December 30 when he sent off United defender Mark Durnan – and awarded both sides a penalty – in their 3-2 defeat at Hearts after Dundee’s Scottish Cup tie with Falkirk was postponed twice due to the incessant rain.
The Fifa official has handled 22 games this season across six competitions – brandishing 82 yellow cards, sending off six players and awarding eight penalties.
His season highlights so far include three Europa League group stage matches, the Euro 2016 qualifier between Russia and Liechtenstein and the Petrofac Training Cup semi-final between Rangers and St Mirren at Ibrox.
For the third successive meeting, the two sides will face off at Tannadice – the other two were refereed by Willie Collum, including Celtic’s 3-1 win back in August.
Madden has already encountered the champions twice in 2015-16 – home league games against Kilmarnock and Motherwell in November and December respectively.
Aside from the game at Tynecastle at the end of 2015, he has also controlled two other United matches – their 2-0 win at Motherwell in August and 2-1 defeat at St Johnstone in September, which brought an end to Jackie McNamara’s two-and-a-half year tenure as manager.
Since Mixu Paatelainen was appointed, Dundee United have won just once in the league and sit 11 points adrift of second-bottom Kilmarnock.
Celtic – chasing a fifth successive Scottish Premiership title – are three points clear of second-placed Aberdeen with a game in hand.
Elsewhere, the experienced Crawford Allan will take charge of Aberdeen’s Scottish Premiership encounter at Ross County on Sunday.
The 48-year-old – who is also the chairman of the Scottish Senior Football Referees Association – will be assisted at the Global Energy Arena by Willie Conquer and Michael Banks while Nick Walsh will be on electronic board duties.
Calum Murray will be the referee as Scottish Championship winners Hearts prepare to lift the trophy after their final-day encounter with Rangers at Tynecastle on Saturday.
REFEREE Calum Murray will take charge of the Scottish Championship clash between champions Hearts and third-placed Rangers on the final day of the season.
The 47-year-old has been chosen as the man in the middle on Saturday when Robbie Neilson’s Jambos host a Gers side who are seeking to pip Hibernian into second place in their last home game of their promotion campaign.
He will be assisted in Gorgie by linesmen Graeme Stewart and Andrew McWilliam while the fourth official is Bobby Madden – who will oversee Celtic’s Premiership match with Dundee on Friday night.
Hearts – who gained promotion back to the top-flight at the first time of asking last month – will lift the trophy after the televised lunchtime game at Tynecastle.
The experienced Edinburgh-based whistler – who has only received 11 Premiership games this season – will take charge of his fifth Hearts game of the campaign but the first since their 2-1 win at Falkirk in mid-November.
His only two Rangers matches came against their play-off rivals Falkirk and Hibernian within the first month of the season.
Murray – who has refereed three Celtic games since the start of March including their 2-1 win at Dundee last week – is no stranger to a fixture involving Hearts and Rangers.
The systems developer – who is the oldest of the current match officials in Scotland – has issued five red cards in his last nine games.
Murray began 2014/15 at Tynecastle in the Petrofac Training Cup as he oversaw Hearts’ 3-1 win over Annan in the first round of the competition.
It is thought that he could retire at the end of the current season although Murray continues to be a fit and capable official who once competed with Craig Thomson and Willie Collum to receive the high-profile appointments.
In what could be Stuart McCall’s final game as manager, Rangers will claim second spot with a win if Hibernian fail to beat Scottish Cup finalists Falkirk away from home.
Three points for Hearts – who have won four of their six league games since their promotion was confirmed – would see the capital club end the campaign with 93 points as well as 30 wins from 36 matches this term.
The 12:15 BST kick-off – which was moved back 24 hours following complaints from Hibs and Hearts that it would impact on “sporting integrity” – will be shown live on Sky Sports 3.
The appointment has been made despite the fact McLean, who is also an SFA referee recruitment and education manager along with Craig Thomson, has already taken charge of both participating teams five times already this term.
The showpiece will be held at Celtic’s Parkhead, which holds 60,000 supporters, as the national stadium hosts the Commonwealth Games.
The experienced Edinburgh whistler takes charge when the champions visit Pittodrie on Saturday lunchtime.
REFEREE Calum Murray will be the man in the middle for the Scottish Premiership encounter between Aberdeen and Celtic this weekend.
The 46-year-old will oversee proceedings as Derek McInnes’s new-look Dons take on the champions in an eagerly-anticipated clash in Saturday’s televised lunchtime kick-off at Pittodrie in week three of the 2013-14 campaign.
Overall, the Scottish whistler – who has been a Category One official since 2000 – took charge of 29 matches in all competitions last season, dishing out 83 yellow cards and six red cards as well as giving four penalties.
Due to the rise of younger officials such as the promising John Beaton, Steven McLean and Bobby Madden, Murray – whose strengths include a reluctance to use cards and a calmness under pressure – was restricted to just 13 SPL matches last season, with 32 yellow cards and two red cards brandished and a solitary penalty awarded.
He will be assisted by linesmen Andrew McWilliam and Graham Chambers, while David Somers has been assigned the role of fourth official.
The match will be broadcast live on BT Sport 2 on Saturday, 17th August, with a 12:30pm kick-off at Pittodrie.