Willie Collum to referee 2015 Uefa Super Cup

Scottish referee Willie Collum will take charge of the 2015 Uefa Super Cup between Barcelona and Sevilla in Tbilisi on August 11.

Willie Collum referee (Scottish Cup Final - 30th May 2015)
European experience: Collum has handled several high-profile Champions League matches in the past two seasons (Picture from Sky Sports)

SCOTTISH referee Willie Collum will take charge of the 2015 Uefa Super Cup between Barcelona and Sevilla in Tbilisi on August 11. 

The 36-year-old has been selected by the Uefa Referees Committee to oversee the first major European showpiece of the campaign between the two Spanish sides at the home of the Georgian national team.

He will be assisted at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena by Francis Connor (Scotland) and Damien MacGraith of the Republic of Ireland.

Graham Chambers (Scotland) will be the fourth official while Scottish Premiership referees Bobby Madden and Kevin Clancy – who are often chosen in the middle for Europa League games – will act as additional assistant referees.

34-year-old Irish referee MacGraith, from Mayo, has previously officiated in UEFA Champions League, World Cup qualifiers, UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers and the 2011 UEFA U21 Championships Final between Switzerland and Spain in Denmark.

Barcelona qualified for the game after winning the Champions League for the fifth time with a 3-1 win over Juventus in the final in Berlin while Sevilla secured back-to-back Europa League titles following a 3-2 victory over Ukrainian outfit Dnipro in the Warsaw final.

Last season, Mark Clattenburg led an English team of officials for another all-Spanish Super Cup at the Cardiff City Stadium in South Wales as Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in Real Madrid’s 2-0 win over Sevilla.

Willie Collum (Falkirk v Inverness Scottish Cup Final - 30th May 2015)
Red hot: Collum (pictured) sent off four players in his final 10 games last season (Picture from Sky Sports)

The showpiece date serves as a deserved reward for an impressive season on the continent for Collum – who oversaw six Champions League matches last term including the quarter-final second leg between Monaco and Juventus.

He was also in the middle for three Euro 2016 qualifiers as well as some high-profile international friendlies such as Spain against the Netherlands.

Collum has notched up 67 UEFA fixtures since joining the international list in 2006 and – at the age of just 29 – officiated the 2008 UEFA European Under-19 Championship final between Italy and Germany.

But the Super Cup – seen as the traditional curtain-raiser to the European season – will be the biggest game in the refereeing career of the Religious Education teacher from Belshill.

Domestically, the Lanarkshire whistler was in charge of the 2012 League Cup Final at Hampden Park when Celtic surprisingly lost to Kilmarnock, the 2013 Scottish Cup Final between Hibernian and Celtic before returning at the end of last term for the 2015 Scottish Cup showpiece as Inverness beat 10-man Falkirk.

As well as officiating several cup semi-finals, he was also on fourth official duties for the 2011 League Cup Final and 2012 Scottish Cup Final.

John Fleming, Head of Referee Operations at the SFA, said: “On behalf of the Scottish FA, I would like to congratulate William and his team on this fantastic appointment.

“The UEFA Super Cup Final is one of the most prestigious fixtures in European football. Taking charge of this exciting match is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the refereeing team.

“This appointment is great news for Scottish refereeing and I am sure the country will take great pride in seeing five of our officials take to the field in Tbilsi next month.”

Last season, he issued a massive 144 yellow cards, sent off 17 players and awarded 22 penalties across 49 games in all competitions.

during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between FC Bayern Muenchen and FC Shakhtar Donetsk at Allianz Arena on March 11, 2015 in Munich, Germany.
Big call: Collum issued the fastest red card in Champions League history to Shakhtar Donetsk’s Olexandr Kucher after three minutes in their 7-0 defeat at Bayern Munich in March (Picture from Getty Images)

Among his other highlights from 2014-15 included an Edinburgh derby in the Scottish Championship, the Championship play-off final second leg between Alloa and Forfar, 27 Premiership matches, three League Cup ties and three Scottish Cup games including the final.

Collum is widely renowned for issuing plenty of cards in domestic games – despite his reluctance to do so in European outings – and is often the centre of controversy but is regarded as a fit and highly rated official who tends to get the big decisions right.

However, he endured a controversial start to 2015 domestically.

Collum awarded four penalties and sent off four players in his first two matches of the new year but saw the red cards he gave to St Mirren’s Kenny McLean and Motherwell defender Stephen McManus overturned by the Scottish Football Association’s judicial panel.

Collum was then dropped from the Premiership for two weeks before he and assistant referee David McGeachie failed to award a goal when Adam Rooney’s shot struck the underside of the crossbar before bouncing a foot over the line in Aberdeen’s 3-0 win at Hamilton in February.

He was also slammed by Hibernian boss Alan Stubbs in March for failing to spot a foul by Lee Wallace on Paul Hanlon in the build-up to Kenny Miller’s clinching goal for Rangers in their 2-0 win at Easter Road.

Willie Collum referee (Falkirk v Inverness - 30th May 2015)
Number one: Willie Collum, who has took charge of over 200 SPL games, is now seen as Scotland’s leading referee ahead of Craig Thomson (Picture from BBC Scotland)

Glasgow-born Collum – a father to three daughters – first took up the whistle at the age of 14 and has been a Category One official since June 2004.

He was promoted to the Scottish Premier League a year later and was first included on the Fifa list of international referees in 2006 but began regularly officiating in the Europa League and Champions League from the 2010-11 campaign.

On the European front, Collum has been a Uefa Elite Category official since 2012 and – after being handed a Europa League quarter-final in 2013-14 – officiated Bayern Munich, Juventus and Barcelona in the Champions League last term campaign.

He took charge of Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Ajax at the Nou Camp last year and their 4-0 victory over BATE Borisov in December 2011 – both in the group stages – while it will be the first time he encounters Sevilla in any European game.

Collum has surprisingly beat off competition from the likes of Norway’s Svein Oddvar Moen, Serbia’s Milorad Mazic, Italy’s Gianluca Rocchi and Czech Republic’s Pavel Kralovec to land the eagerly-anticipated showdown between the two Spanish sides.

It could be earmarked as a fixture to test Collum’s credentials before the list of 12 referees for the 2016 European Championship finals in France is confirmed in the Autumn.

Here is the social media reaction to his Super Cup selection – and it isn’t very pleasant….




Jonas Eriksson referee (Real Madrid v Juventus - 13th May 2015)
In charge: The Swedish millionaire was the man in the middle for the 2013 contest at the Eden Arena in Prague (Picture from Sky Sports)

2014:  Mark Clattenburg (England) – Real Madrid 2-0 Sevilla
2013:  Jonas Eriksson (Sweden) – Bayern Munich 2-2 Chelsea (Bayern win 5-4 on penalties)
2012:  Damir Skomina (Slovenia) – Chelsea 1-4 Atletico Madrid
2011:  Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands) – Barcelona 2-0 FC Porto
2010:  Massimo Busacca (Switzerland) – Inter Milan 0-2 Atletico Madrid

Calum Murray in charge of Tynecastle send-off

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.

Calum Murray blows his whistle (Inverness v Aberdeen - 28th Dec 2014)
Dropping down: It will be Murray’s ninth match in the second tier this season (Picture from BT Sport)

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.

Murray has handled 34 games in all competitions so far this season – brandishing 112 yellow cards, sending off eight players and awarding five penalties in total.

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.

Calum Murray referee
Reunion: Murray will take charge of both Hearts and Rangers for the first time in 2015 (Picture from BBC ALBA)

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.

He oversaw three league encounters between the sides when they were both last in the top-flight in 2011/12 including a 1-1 draw at Ibrox on the opening weekend.

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.

Thomson oversaw Hearts’ 2-1 win at Ibrox on the opening weekend and their 2-0 victory at Tynecastle in November in which he sent off Gers full-back Stevie Smith in the first half.

Sunday’s fourth official Madden was in control of the clash earlier this month as Rangers ran out 2-1 winners despite the red card shown to captain Lee McCulloch.

Calum Murray referee Old Firm derby (29th April 2012)
Coming up: Murray will also referee the Premiership catch-up match between Inverness and Dundee United in the Highlands next Tuesday night (Picture from Sky Sports)

Murray has been officiating in the Scottish top-flight since 2000 and was a Fifa referee for eight years until reaching the mandatory retirement age in 2013.

He took charge of the 2008 Ramsdens Cup Final at St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park when Airdrie beat Ross County on penalties and the 2011 Scottish Cup Final as Celtic beat Motherwell 3-0 at Hampden Park.

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.

Celtic beat 10-man Dundee United to clinch League Cup

Celtic claimed their first silverware under manager Ronny Deila with an assured victory over 10-man Dundee United in the 2015 Scottish League Cup Final at Hampden Park.

  •  Celtic’s 15th League Cup triumph in their 30th final
  •  Dundee United runners-up for fifth time in seven League Cup finals
  •  Three United red cards in last two games against Celtic
  •  Celtic have never lost to United in a cup final in six attempts
  •  United won just one of last 12 meetings with the Hoops
Brown lifts League Cup
Green and white joy: Celtic captain Brown – who was part of the Hibernian side who won the League Cup in 2007 – lifts the trophy aloft

CELTIC claimed their first silverware under Ronny Deila as their treble hopes remain alive after an assured victory over 10-man Dundee United in the Scottish League Cup Final.

Kris Commons followed up after his initial shot was tipped onto the post by United keeper Radoslaw Cierzniak to make the breakthrough on 28 minutes.

United captain Sean Dillon was sent off 10 minutes after the break for a reckless lunge which caught Emilio Izaguirre high on the leg.

Substitute James Forrest curled home his first goal of the season on 79 minutes and then saw a penalty saved by Cierzniak after he was upended by Paul Dixon.

Ronny Deila pre-match
Cup success: Deila won the Norwegian Cup in 2010 as Stromsgodset manager and has now claimed his first major honour in Scotland

A 15th League Cup triumph – and first since 2009 – takes Celtic one step closer to a first domestic clean sweep for 14 years and only the fourth of their history in Deila’s debut season in charge after replacing Neil Lennon last summer.

The Scottish Premiership champions had lost on their previous two League Cup final appearances in 2011 and 2012 but – by crushing Hearts, Partick Thistle and Rangers in previous rounds – have claimed the first trophy of the Scottish season without conceding a goal.

Jackie McNamara
Disappointment: McNamara – who won three League Cups as a Celtic defender between 1995 and 2005 – tasted the bitter experience of defeat at Hampden for the first time as a manager

In contrast, it is more heartache for Dundee United – who are without silverware since 2010 – following their defeat to St Johnstone in last season’s Scottish Cup Final as Jackie McNamara still awaits a maiden trophy of his managerial career.

The Tangerines – who could not add to their consecutive League Cup triumphs in 1980 and 1981 under Jim McLean – will now be desperate to bounce back in the upcoming double header against Celtic at Parkhead starting with the Scottish Cup quarter-final replay on Wednesday.

McGowan distraught
Distraught: As Ryan McGowan watched on at full-time, it was the fifth time Dundee United have been League Cup runners-up in this their first final appearance since 2008

The first of four meetings in the space of a fortnight produced an ill-tempered tie at Tannadice last weekend which saw three red cards and two penalties but – after being cleared this week by the SFA – none of the players dismissed were forced to sit out of the first national final held at Hampden Park for two years.

Dundee United’s Calum Butcher and Paul Paton were cleared to play, however, 12-goal top scorer Nadir Ciftci – who scored their semi-final winner against previous holders Aberdeen – was suspended after picking up two yellow cards in the competition.

Mario Bilate
Standing in: The 23-year-old striker – who has only scored twice for United since arriving last summer – was starting for the first time since November 1

Dutch striker Mario Bilate deputised while Callum Morris appeared for the first time in a month after a thigh injury and Ryan McGowan occupied a midfield role in a United side which featured six defenders by trade.

In the one Celtic change from last Sunday’s 1-1 draw between the sides, Commons returned from injury to oust James Forrest to the bench as Virgil van Dijk was able to continue in defence.

Scott Brown kept the captain’s armband despite newspaper reports that he was allegedly drunk in an Edinburgh night club in the early hours of Thursday while former United duo Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong were cup-tied after their January deadline day moves.

Pre-match scene
Familiar foes: The two sides were meeting for the first time at Hampden since the Scottish Cup semi-finals two seasons ago

Both watched from the stands as Celtic almost made the perfect start to the 69th League Cup Final when van Dijk’s header from an Anthony Stokes corner was nodded off the line by Dillon as early as the third minute.

The Tangerines were given another huge let-off five minutes later when Morris sold Cierzniak short with a slack backpass which Leigh Griffiths intercepted but the striker could only find the side netting from an acute angle.

At the other end, the Hoops rearguard were almost sliced apart when Dillon’s long throw-in was helped into the path of John Rankin, who was smothered by the onrushing Craig Gordon.

Sean Dillon injury
Treatment: Dillon received attention on the pitch followed by stitches to a nasty wound on his right leg in the dressing room

Celtic turned up the heat midway through the first half with United resorting to last-ditch measures as Stefan Johansen’s attempted shot was charged down superbly by McGowan.

McNamara’s team were temporarily forced to play with a man light when Dillon had to leave the field with a leg injury after coming off worse in a tangle with van Dijk.

And the Hoops ruthlessly seized on the right-back’s absence to break the deadlock two minutes shy of the half-hour.

Commons 1-0
First goal: Commons – who opened his scoring account for the season against Dundee United in August – slammed home from close range

Stokes – deployed on the left-hand side – got the better of McGowan to deliver a cross which Commons directed goalwards. The forward’s effort deflected off Jaroslaw Fojut and was touched onto the post by Cierzniak but he reacted quickest to fire home the loose ball for his 11th goal of the season.

The Celtic playmaker was inches away from a second soon after but for Cierzniak, the Polish stopper diving low to his right to palm his 20-yard effort wide of the post.

United were about to bring on midfielder Blair Spittal before Dillon re-emerged from the tunnel to take to the field again.

McNamara’s men offered minimal attacking threat prior to the interval, however, the lively Ryan Dow had legitimate penalty claims ignored when appearing to be shoved over by Brown.

Penalty claim
Shove: Brown could have conceded a penalty for knocking Ryan Dow off balance in the 36th minute
Dundee Utd penalty appeal
Contact: Brown’s elbow appears to land in Dow’s back, knocking the Dundee United player off his stride

There was an increase in hunger and intent from Dundee United at the start of the second period as Bilate tested Gordon from 22 yards following a swift breakaway.

But their hopes suffered a severe setback on 55 minutes as Dillon challenged Izaguirre to receive his marching orders from referee Bobby Madden – taking charge of his first major final.

Dillon challenge
Lunge: Dillon caught Izaguirre late to earn the first red card in a Scottish League Cup Final since 2011
Sean Dillon red card
Fate: The referee produced a red card for Dillon as Dundee United’s miserable afternoon began to unravel

It provided Celtic with the ideal platform to put the outcome beyond doubt as the Hoops regained a firm foothold with prolonged spells of possession to crank up the pressure.

Johansen went close to doubling their advantage, getting in front of Fojut to steer Izaguirre’s centre narrowly wide of the left-hand post.

Stefan Johansen man of the match
Man of the match: The SPFL’s February player of the month was instrumental in Celtic’s victory in an advanced midfield position

The Celtic onslaught continued with Stokes firing off target from the edge of the box as the Tangerines – penned in for long periods – struggled to stem the tide.

The Hoops, though, eventually made their numerical advantage count 11 minutes from time.

Stokes’ progress into the box was stopped by a fine Morris tackle but Johansen picked up the loose pieces and his cross was laid back by John Guidetti to fellow substitute Forrest, who stroked home a controlled finish from 18 yards.

Erskine screwed wide from similar range at the other end in what was the closest United came in the closing stages.

Forrest missed penalty
Heroics: Cierzniak has now saved three of the four penalties he has faced this season (excluding shoot-outs) after denying Forrest late on

The margins could have been greater in Celtic’s favour had Forrest – who shrugged off 13-goal top scorer Guidetti to take the spotkick – found the net from 12 yards with five minutes to go.

But it mattered little as the celebrations began in earnest at the national stadium and Celtic will be desperate to add two more trophies to their collection before the season is out.



Dundee United XI

Substitutes:  Anier (on for Bilate 59′), Erskine (on for Paton 72′)

Not used:  Szromnik (GK), Souttar, Telfer, Spittal, Connolly.

Booked:  McGowan (33′), Paton (67′)

Sent-off:  Dillon (55′)


Celtic XI

Substitutes:  Forrest (on for Commons 69′), Guidetti (on for Griffiths 69′), Henderson (on for Bitton 82′)

Not used:  Zaluska (GK), Fisher, McGregor, Scepovic.

Booked:  None

Goals:  Commons (28′), Forrest (79′)


Bobby Madden referee

Referee:  Bobby Madden (Scotland) – 8/10
Attendance:  49,259


PREVIEW: 2015 Scottish League Cup Final

Celtic are seeking to complete the first part of a domestic treble when facing Dundee United for the second of four meetings in a fortnight in Sunday’s Scottish League Cup Final at Hampden Park.

Level: Both sides have won one league encounter and the sides have drawn in the cup so how will they be separated on Sunday?
Level: Both sides have won one league encounter this season and drawn in the cup so how will they be separated on Sunday?

CELTIC are seeking to complete the first part of a domestic treble when facing Dundee United in the 2015 QTS Scottish League Cup Final.

Sunday’s showpiece at Hampden Park (KO 3pm, live on BBC Scotland) will be the second of four consecutive meetings between the two Premiership sides – separated by three places and 17 points in the table – in the space of a fortnight.

Both are still challenging on three fronts after last weekend’s controversial Scottish Cup quarter-final, which saw three red cards and two penalties, ended in a draw.

The replay will be held on Wednesday night at Celtic Park, which is also the stage for their league encounter three days later.

After last Sunday’s battle at Tannadice, the war of words continued thereafter with both managers disagreeing over refereeing decisions.

Celtic boss Ronny Deila accused Dundee United’s Aiden Connolly of diving to win a penalty and called for the forward to be banned retrospectively – a view shared by his skipper Scott Brown, who also blamed United’s Nadir Ciftci for deliberately kicking him in the head.

Misdemeanour: The Celtic and Scotland captain was reportedly seen on a night out in Edinburgh on Wednesday allegedly drunk according to the Sun newspaper
Misdemeanour: The Celtic and Scotland captain was reportedly seen on a night out in Edinburgh on Wednesday allegedly drunk according to the Sun newspaper

Opposite number Jackie McNamara believed Brown should have been sent off for a robust tackle on Ciftci and felt the melee which saw his midfielder Paul Paton dismissed would not have ensued if the initial challenge from Virgil van Dijk, who was shown a red card, was dealt with quickly.

Celtic’s van Dijk and United’s Paton, who was wrongly sent off instead of team-mate Calum Butcher in a case of mistaken identity, have since both been cleared to play in the final after their clubs appealed against their red cards.

By virtue of loopholes in the Scottish FA rules, defender Butcher has surprisingly received no punishment for his part in the incident.

Nadir Ciftci (Dundee United)
Leading scorer: The 23-year-old has scored 12 goals in all competitions this season for United including the League Cup semi-final winner and a penalty against Celtic last weekend

Ciftci was also ordered to serve a two-match ban but the club won their appeal on Thursday meaning the Turk can play in the Scottish Cup replay – although United’s 12-goal top scorer is already suspended for Sunday’s final after picking up a yellow card in the semis.

The Tangerines came from behind to knock out holders Aberdeen last month and reach their fourth major cup final in the past decade, however, they will not have fond memories of the last one, losing to Tayside neighbours St Johnstone in last season’s Scottish Cup at Parkhead.

Celtic, meanwhile, comfortably saw off Glaswegian adversaries Rangers in the first Old Firm derby for three years in their semi-final.

The 69th League Cup Final represents an opportunity for both managers to gain their first silverware at their respective clubs.

Jackie McNamara
Familiar foe: Former Celtic defender McNamara, 41, is aiming to add to the three League Cup winners medals he earned during his playing decade at Parkhead

United’s McNamara, who was appointed at the end of January 2013, believes a win for his side would be a “massive upset” but the club will be desperate to end a five-year wait for silverware since lifting the Scottish Cup in 2010.

For Celtic, it is a first domestic final in charge for Deila since replacing Neil Lennon last summer and the Norwegian harbours genuine hope that the Hoops can clinch a first treble since 2000-01 and only the fourth in their 127-year history.

His fellow countryman – SPFL’s February player of the month Stefan Johansen – is also just as hopeful that the League Cup can be the start of a clean sweep this season.

The Bhoys midfielder – who was praised by Deila this week for a remarkable turnaround in his career – has been inspirational of late in an advanced position, coinciding in Celtic’s upturn in form.

John Guidetti pre-match (v Ross County - 25th January 2015)
Goal getter: Top scorer Guidetti – on loan from Manchester City – has scored 13 times in 27 Celtic appearances including four in the League Cup but has only scored twice in the last 15 games

Despite failing to win their last two, the league leaders had gone 11 domestic games unbeaten before St Johnstone prevented them going nine points clear last week.

Celtic, who thumped six past Dundee United in the second week of the season, narrowly lost a thriller at Tannadice back in December.

But the response has been emphatic with their Europa League exit to Inter Milan not hindering their progress much, as emphasised by the recent thumping of nearest title challengers Aberdeen.

Ronny Deila pre-match
Ronny’s record: Deila has won 30 of his 47 games in charge of Celtic in all competitions so far

Deila has won over plenty of critics – former Hoops striker John Hartson being one of them – but the 39-year-old’s aim this weekend is to achieve something his predecessor didn’t.

The League Cup has eluded the Hoops for six years when a 2-0 extra-time victory over Rangers under Gordon Strachan’s stewardship in 2009 saw them lift the trophy for the 14th time – still some way behind the Gers’ record haul of 27.

Since then, the competition has had three different names and the Hoops have experienced heartbreak, regret and humiliation in equal measure against the likes of Morton, Ross County, St Mirren and Kilmarnock in their last appearance in the final in 2012.

Two-time winners Dundee United have suffered similar woe in recent times since their back-to-back triumphs in 1980 and 1981.

The Tangerines have been runners-up on four occasions, including most recently in 2008 when losing 3-2 on penalties to Rangers in their last final appearance after a 2-2 draw.

United have hit a stumbling block and cannot seem to buy a win at the moment, with no victory in five since a cup stroll at Stranraer, as the pre-Christmas success over the champions seems like a distant memory.

Chris Erskine (Dundee Utd midfielder v Stranraer - 8th Feb 2015)
Emergence: The former Partick Thistle midfielder – who has stepped up in the absence of Mackay-Steven and Armstrong – will be itching for a recall to the team this weekend having impressed this season

That landmark result, their only win over Celtic in the last 11 attempts, can act as a useful reminder to McNamara’s men of their capabilities.

It will be the first time the sides will face each other at Hampden for two years since Celtic came out on top in a topsy-turvy Scottish Cup semi-final which was settled by the odd goal in seven following an additional half-an-hour.

A similar contest would certainly appease the neutrals and indeed supporters of both clubs, with Celtic being allocated 25,000 tickets while United had 15,000 and took up the option of an additional 3,000.

With both sides adopting attractive styles of play and favouring possession as nine tenths of the law, it should serve up a classic given that the Hampden pitch was re-laid following justifiable criticism of the national stadium’s surface last month.

Last weekend’s ill-tempered cup tie aside, there is no love lost between the two clubs at present with the acrimony emerging after the sales of star duo Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong by United on January deadline day – something chairman Stephen Thompson admitted was wrong from a football perspective.

Despite suggestions that the tempestuous nature of the Tannadice clash will have no bearing on the final from United skipper Sean Dillon and others, the proof as they say will be in the pudding.

But, with the first domestic prize of the Scottish season on offer, the main question to ask is will it be green and white or tangerine on the cup by the end of Sunday afternoon?

Leigh Griffiths
Potential matchwinner: Griffiths – who has netted two Scottish Cup semi-final winning goals for Hibernian – has scored five times in his last six Celtic appearances



Radoslaw Cierzniak
Spotkick hero: The Polish stopper – who was in top form against Celtic in last weekend’s Scottish Cup tie – saved penalties in their third-round derby win over Dundee and the shootout against Hibernian in the quarter-finals

Dundee United:

Third Round                    1-0 win v Dundee (H)
Quarter-Final                  3-3 draw v Hibernian (A) * won 7-6 on penalties
Semi-Final                        2-1 win v Aberdeen (Hampden Park)



Unbeatable: Craig Gordon has played in every League Cup round and is yet to concede a goal
Unbeatable: Craig Gordon has played in every League Cup round and is yet to concede a goal

Third Round                   3-0 win v Hearts (H)
Quarter-Final                 6-0 win v Partick Thistle (H)
Semi-Final                       2-0 win v Rangers (Hampden Park)


Kris Commons HT
Reduced influence: Commons has scored 10 times in all competitions so far this season – compared to 23 at this stage last term



Anthony Stokes has scored eight goals in his last 10 appearances against Dundee United and has 18 career goals against them in total (more than against any other side).

Stefan Johansen has netted five times in his last seven domestic outings for Celtic.

Aidan Connolly has two goals in 14 appearances this season with the former Queen’s Park starlet making his seventh start for the club against Celtic last weekend.

Former Inverness and Hibernian midfielder John Rankin will be looking to win the first silverware of his career with United this weekend at the age of 31.

It is Celtic’s 30th appearance in the League Cup Final – they have lost on their last two (v Kilmarnock in 2012 and Rangers in 2011) while Dundee United are in their seventh final.

It is the first time the sides have met in a major final since 2005 when Alan Thompson scored the only goal in the Scottish Cup Final for Celtic at Hampden.

They have only met once before in a League Cup Final with Celtic running out 3-0 winners back in 1998.



Dundee United team
Last line-up: Dundee United’s starting eleven and substitutes for the Scottish Cup quarter-final with Celtic last weekend

Dundee United’s Paul Paton has been cleared to play after the midfielder’s ban was repealed following his sending-off for mistaken identity in last Sunday’s Scottish Cup last-eight tie.

Paul Dixon is also eligible to play after the on-loan Huddersfield left-back was dismissed at Tannadice for denying Leigh Griffiths a goal with the use of his arm.

Nadir Ciftci is already banned for receiving two yellow cards in the competition following his booking in the semi-final win over Aberdeen therefore one of Henri Anier or Mario Bilate is likely to deputise.

Callum Morris – who scored the equaliser against the Dons at Hampden – has declared himself fit following a thigh injury which has kept the ex-Dunfermline defender out since February 14.

Celtic team
Previous team: Celtic’s starting XI and subs bench against Dundee United for last weekend’s Scottish Cup tie

Celtic have Virgil van Dijk available after the Dutch centre-back had his red card overturned.

Stefan Johansen – who will sit out the midweek cup replay suspended – is likely to start in a forward position with defensive midfielders Scott Brown and Nir Biton protecting the back four.

Kris Commons is also set to return to the side after being ruled out through injury last weekend.

Adam Matthews should be fit enough to start at right-back while Leigh Griffiths should get the nod over John Guidetti to lead the line.

Former United duo Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven are cup-tied having played for the Tangerines earlier in the competition.



Dundee United:

Dundee United expected starting XI (2015 Scottish League Cup Final)


Celtic expected starting XI (2015 Scottish League Cup Final)



2014:  Aberdeen (beat Inverness CT on penalties after goalless draw)
2013:  St Mirren (came from behind to beat Hearts 3-2)
2012:  Kilmarnock (scored late winner to defeat Celtic 1-0)
2011:  Rangers (beat Celtic 2-1 after extra-time)
2010:  Rangers (the nine-man Gers edge past St Mirren 1-0)
2009:  Celtic (beat Rangers 2-0 after extra time)
2008:  Rangers (win on penalties against Dundee United after 2-2 draw)
2007:  Hibernian (thump Kilmarnock 5-1)
2006:  Celtic (beat Dunfermline Athletic 3-0)
2005:  Rangers (beat Motherwell 5-1)



Bobby Madden referee (Rangers v Raith Rovers - 8th February 2015)
Cup final debut: 36-year-old Fifa whistler Madden will be in the middle for the first major domestic final of his officiating career

Referee:  Bobby Madden
Assistant referees:  Stephen Mitchell and Graeme Leslie
Fourth Official:  Kevin Clancy

Read more on Madden’s appointment here


Hibernian crush Berwick’s Scottish Cup hopes

Scottish Championship side Hibernian thumped four past League Two strugglers Berwick Rangers to book their place in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup.

  •   One defeat in 20 games in all competitions for Hibs
  •   Jason Cummings with 13th goal of season
  •   Part-timers Berwick convincingly beaten in the capital 
  •   First Scottish Cup meeting between the sides for 35 years
  •   Fourth straight win for Alan Stubbs’s team
On target: The 20-year-old scored on his 21st Hibernian appearance
On target: The 20-year-old scored on his 21st Hibernian appearance within two minutes of arriving on the pitch

IN-FORM Hibernian swept aside League Two strugglers Berwick Rangers at Easter Road to reach a third Scottish Cup semi-final in four years.

The Championship side were firmly in command following two quick-fire goals before the half-hour mark.

Jason Cummings slotted home Lewis Stevenson’s incisive slide-rule pass and Stevenson netted his third in six games after exchanging passes with top scorer Dominique Malonga.

Midfielder Sam Stanton crashed home a third moments after coming on as a substitute after Malonga’s shot was saved by Berwick goalkeeper Billy Bald.

And Liam Fontaine’s second Hibs goal – a powerful header from close range – completed the scoring with eight minutes to go.

Hibs will now face second-tier rivals Falkirk – whom they beat 4-3 at the semi-final stage two years ago – in the semi-finals next month.

The Leith club are now unbeaten in 14 games – their best run of form since 1999 – as the 2012 and 2013 finalists booked their first Hampden appearance in two years and took a step closer to winning the competition for the first time.

Until then, Alan Stubb’s side can switch their attentions back to returning to the Premiership at the first time of asking in their battle with Rangers for a play-off spot.

Berwick – second from bottom in the fourth-tier – were bidding to reach the Scottish Cup semis for the first time in their history and arrived in Edinburgh having won just one of their previous seven league games.

But the Shielfield Park outfit – despite their best efforts and positive attitude throughout – were well beaten while 42-year-old player-manager Colin Cameron left top scorer Darren Lavery on the substitutes bench until midway through the second period.

Hibernian XI

Berwick Rangers XI

Bobby Madden to referee 2015 Scottish League Cup Final

Referee Bobby Madden has been appointed to the 2015 Scottish League Cup Final between Dundee United and Celtic on Sunday 15 March at Hampden Park.

Bobby Madden referee (Rangers v Raith Rovers - 8th February 2015)
Madden’s only other League Cup tie this season was holders Aberdeen’s 1-0 win over Hamilton in the third round

BOBBY Madden has been confirmed as the referee for the 2015 Scottish League Cup Final between Dundee United and Celtic.

The 36-year-old will be in the middle as the Scottish Premiership champions face last season’s Scottish Cup runners-up at Hampden Park on Sunday, 15 March (KO 3pm live on BBC Scotland).

He will be assisted by linesmen Stephen Mitchell and Graeme Leslie while the fourth official will be Kevin Clancy – who also carried out the same role in the 2013 final.

2015 Scottish League Cup Final Appointment (1)

2015 Scottish League Cup Final Appointment (2)

It will be Madden’s first major domestic final although the Stirling-based whistler oversaw semi-finals in both the League Cup and Scottish Cup last season while he was also an additional assistant referee for the 2013 Scottish Cup Final.

The high-profile appointment came on the same day he was selected to take charge of Hibernian’s Scottish Cup quarter-final with Berwick Rangers at Easter Road on Sunday while he will be the fourth official for Motherwell’s Premiership match with Kilmarnock on Saturday.

The fitness instructor has officiated 31 games in all competitions so far this season – only Willie Collum has handled more among Scotland’s referees.

The most recent was Hearts’ astonishing 10-0 win over Cowdenbeath last Saturday at Tynecastle in which he awarded the Jambos three spotkicks and sent off Blue Brazil defender Lewis Toshney in the first half.

Overall, he has brandished 106 yellow cards, sent off six players and awarded nine penalties.

Bobby Madden issues yellow card (Hibs v Rangers - 27th Dec 2014)
Madden – who has refereed 15 Premiership games this season – has only ever officiated one Celtic v Dundee United clash in the past

Madden has refereed Celtic four times already this term – three of which came in the first three months of the season against Inverness, Aberdeen and Ross County in the league while the last was at home to Motherwell on 21 January.

He has also taken charge of four Dundee United league victories over St Mirren in August, St Johnstone in September, Ross County in December and Hamilton Accies on 12 January.

Madden was set to be appointed to Celtic’s semi-final against Old Firm rivals Rangers last month according to reports in the press but Craig Thomson was selected instead.

Madden enjoyed a largely successful season in 2013-14, overseeing 42 games in total including 24 Scottish Premiership games.

He oversaw Aberdeen’s 4-0 League Cup semi win over St Johnstone and Dundee United’s 3-1 Scottish Cup semi victory over Rangers and was in the middle for three Edinburgh derbies throughout the calendar year of 2014.

His final match of last season was the first leg of Hibernian’s Premiership play-off in which they beat Hamilton 2-0 at New Douglas Park in May before losing the second leg at home after a penalty shoot-out.

Madden has also been the fourth official for two League Cup semi-finals, including Dundee United's 2-1 win over Aberdeen last month (Image via Motherwell FC)
Madden has also been the fourth official for two League Cup semi-finals, including Dundee United’s 2-1 win over Aberdeen last month (Image via Motherwell FC)

Madden – who has been a referee since 2002 – was promoted to Category One in 2009 and has been a regular in the Scottish top-flight since his first match in January 2011.

A year later he became a Fifa official – one of seven from Scotland currently on the list of international referees.

Madden’s status is continuing to grow on the continental stage having overseen three Europa League ties this season while he has also been part of the Champions League officiating teams as an additional assistant referee.

His refereeing style – of allowing the game to flow without the use of cards unless necessary – and consistent performances is reflected in his position on the merit table while many among refereeing circles believe the appointment is well-deserved.

Inevitably, supporters of both Celtic and Dundee United have been having their say on social media…

Other contenders to have been awarded the showpiece were Kevin Clancy, John Beaton and Crawford Allan while Steven McLean was in charge of last year’s contest which Aberdeen won on penalties at the expense of Inverness Caley Thistle at Celtic Park.

It will be the second of three meetings in a matter of weeks between Dundee United and Celtic, who also face each other in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals this weekend and in the league in a fortnight’s time.

Jackie McNamara’s Tangerines lost the Scottish Cup Final to Tayside rivals St Johnstone last May while it will be a first final for Celtic boss Ronny Deila since the Norwegian replaced Neil Lennon last summer as the current Premiership leaders target a first treble since 2000-01.

Another Edinburgh derby for ref Bobby Madden

Referee Bobby Madden will be in the middle for his third Edinburgh derby of 2014 when Hibernian host Scottish Championship leaders Hearts this Sunday lunchtime.

Prominent figure: Madden has become one of the leading match officials in Scotland (Picture by Adam Higgins)
Prominent figure: Madden has become one of the leading match officials in Scotland (Picture by Adam Higgins)

BOBBY Madden will be in the middle for his third Edinburgh derby of 2014 when Hibernian host neighbours Hearts on Sunday.

The previous two contests came in the Scottish Premiership and also took place at Easter Road, with Hibs winning the New Year showdown 2-1 before Hearts were victorious by the same scoreline in April.

Both passed without major incident, with nine yellow cards shown in total, before the two fierce rivals were subsequently relegated to the Scottish Championship at the end of the season.

Stirling-based Madden, 35, will be assisted by linesmen Graham Chambers and Douglas Ross for the televised clash on BT Sport.

Crawford Allan, who will referee Friday’s SPL clash between Aberdeen and Motherwell, will be the fourth official for the 12:15 BST kick-off.

Both sides have already clashed this term in the first-ever meeting below the top-flight as Hearts claimed a 2-1 win at Tynecastle in an eventful encounter back in August.

Under the spotlight: Willie Collum made a number of controversial decisions when the two Edinburgh rivals met in the second week of the season (Picture by Adam Higgins)
Under the spotlight: Willie Collum made a number of controversial decisions when the two Edinburgh rivals met in the second week of the season (Picture by Adam Higgins)

Willie Collum was the central to the action, the official awarding two penalties and dismissing two players, one for either side.

Madden, who was part of a Scottish officiating team led by Collum at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night, will hope he can slip under the radar as he has done in his previous experience of one of Scotland’s oldest derby rivalries.

It has been a busy season so far for the Fifa whistler, who oversaw his seventh Premiership game of the campaign last Saturday in Celtic’s 5-0 win over Ross County.

As well as awarding three penalties, Madden has brandished an average of three yellow cards per game in his 12 matches in all competitions.

His only red card came earlier this month in the Euro 2016 qualifier between Latvia and Turkey while last month, he handled PSV Eindhoven’s Europa League group stage opener at home to Estoril.

Madden also enjoyed a largely successful season in 2013-14, overseeing 42 games in total including semi-finals in both the Scottish League Cup and Scottish Cup, Europa League ties and World Cup qualifiers as well as 24 Premiership games.

His final match was the first leg of the Premiership play-off as Hibernian beat Hamilton 2-0 at New Douglas Park on 21 May before they lost the second leg at home on penalties under Terry Butcher.

Accomplished: Madden pointed to the spot on his Edinburgh derby debut at the start of the year (Picture from Zimbio.com)
Accomplished: Madden pointed to the spot on his Edinburgh derby debut at the start of the year (Picture from Zimbio.com)

Overall, Madden brandished 113 yellows and seven red cards – five of which came during a six-game spell across December and January – whilst awarding seven penalties.

A Category One official since 2008, he has been a regular figure in the Scottish top-flight since his debut in January 2011 and became a Fifa official later that year.

Madden officiated Hibernian’s opening-day win over Livingston but has not crossed paths with Hearts since Callum Paterson netted a double to sink Hibs in the sides’ last Easter Road encounter.

League leaders Hearts have dropped just two points this term, winning nine of their 10 second-tier outings in a blistering start to Robbie Neilson’s managerial tenure.

In contrast, Alan Stubbs has found life in the Hibs hotseat more difficult with the Leith side boasting half the number of points (14) than Hearts have accumulated (28) so far.