Craig Thomson will be in the middle for Rangers against Motherwell at Ibrox, while Willie Collum has been appointed to Celtic’s fourth-round tie at Albion Rovers.
The heavyweights will be out in force as the match official appointments for the fourth round of the Scottish Cup have been announced.
Craig Thomson will take charge of the first tie of the weekend as Rangers face another Premiership side in Motherwell at Ibrox on Saturday (KO 12:30 GMT).
And fellow elite official Willie Collum will be in the middle for Celtic’s trip to League One Albion Rovers on Sunday – also live on Sky Sports – with kick-off at 15:00 GMT.
The other TV game will see John Beaton oversee Hearts’ match at Championship outfit Raith Rovers in front of the BBC Scotland cameras earlier on Sunday (KO 13:05 GMT).
Thomson makes Ibrox return
It will be the fourth time Thomson will encounter Rangers this season but his first trip to Ibrox for a year since giving them two penalties in their 4-1 win over Livingston on the way to the Championship title.
He will be assisted by Alan Mulvanny and Andrew McWilliam, with Stephen Finnie on fourth official duties.
Earlier this season, Thomson was involved in a bitter spat with pundit Chris Sutton, who called him a ‘bottler’ after opting not to send off Rangers midfielder Harry Forrester for a second bookable offence in their 2-1 success at Dens Park.
He was also branded ‘the Scottish butcher’ by angry Besiktas players after a controversial performance in their pivotal 6-0 defeat at Dynamo Kiev during the Champions League group stages.
Collum reunited with Celtic
Collum usually officiates Celtic on a monthly basis but it will only be the third occasion he will oversee the champions so far this term.
The 2015 Uefa Super Cup and Euro 2016 referee put in a fine display in their 5-1 thumping of Rangers at Parkhead in September.
But he was criticised by Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers for sending off Calum McGregor in their 1-1 draw at Hamilton on Christmas Eve.
It will be the first time the Religious Education teacher will be in the middle for an Albion Rovers game, which will be staged at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium to allow extra fans to watch – a stone’s throw from where he resides in North Lanarkshire.
He will be assisted by Michael Banks and John McCrossan, while Gavin Duncan will act as the fourth official.
To his credit, the notoriously card-happy Collum has rarely attracted controversy this term.
The only notable occasion came when he was slated by fans on social media after harshly penalising Jamie MacDonald for a perceived foul on James Maddison, which led to Aberdeen’s opening goal in their 4-0 win at Kilmarnock in October.
You can see the rest of the Scottish Cup match official appointments here.
Craig Thomson will handle his 13th Old Firm derby while Kevin Clancy will referee his first domestic cup semi-final in this weekend’s Betfred Cup last-four ties at Hampden Park.
CRAIG Thomson and Kevin Clancy have been confirmed as the referees for this weekend’s Scottish League Cup semi-finals at Hampden Park.
Thomson will be in the middle for the Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic on Sunday (KO 14:05 BST).
Meanwhile, Clancy has been selected to officiate Premiership side Aberdeen against Championship outfit Greenock Morton on Saturday (KO 12:15 BST).
Both ties will be televised live on BT Sport.
The perennial Old Firm whistler…
It may be an unlucky number for some but Thomson will be hoping it will bring him some fortune as he prepares for his 13th Old Firm derby – no other referee has handled more than five.
His first derby came back in 2006 and he has since built up a wealth of experience in handling Scottish football’s most explosive duel in cup finals, crucial league encounters and, more recently, semi-final battles.
It will be the third season in a row the Fifa whistler, who went to Euro 2012, will manage a cup semi-final between the sides at the national stadium – after Celtic’s 2-0 League Cup win in 2015 and Rangers’ Scottish Cup win on penalties earlier this year.
David McGeachie and Alan Mulvanny will assist Thomson, with Steven McLean taking the fourth official reins.
It was widely expected McLean or Bobby Madden might be entrusted with their first Old Firm derbies as Thomson and Willie Collum – who oversaw his third when Celtic thrashed Rangers 5-1 last month – are the only officials among the current crop to have previously refereed the fixture.
But, with a place in November’s Betfred Cup Final at stake, they have called on the vastly experienced Thomson to make the decisions for the latest meeting of Glasgow’s biggest rivals.
The former lawyer, from Renfrewshire, oversaw the League Cup final meeting between the sides in 2011 – awarding Rangers a penalty before reversing his decision and sending off Celtic’s Emilio Izaguirre in an eventual 2-1 win for the Ibrox side.
Earlier this season, he was involved in a bitter spat with pundit Chris Sutton, who called him a ‘bottler’ after opting not to send off Rangers midfielder Harry Forrester for a second bookable offence in their 2-1 win at Dundee.
He was also an additional assistant referee in the 2014 Scottish Cup Final at Celtic Park and Rangers’ Scottish Cup semi win over Celtic on penalties, as well as European games such as the 2015 Uefa Super Cup.
Clancy first took up the whistle in 2000 and was admitted to the Scottish FA five years later before overseeing his first SPL match in 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.
Among Clancy’s other high-profile appointments was the Championship play-off semi first leg between Hamilton Accies and Falkirk in 2014 and Queen’s Park’s League One play-off second leg win over Clyde last term.
At Hampden, he will be assisted by Alastair Mather and Gordon Crawford, while Euan Anderson will be on electronic board duties as fourth official.
Mark Clattenburg, Craig Thomson and Michael Oliver have been chosen to referee their first group stage matches in the Champions League this season on Tuesday night.
BRITISH referees Mark Clattenburg, Michael Oliver and Craig Thomson will take charge of matches in the second round of Champions League group stage fixtures on Tuesday.
England’s leading official Clattenburg will handle Group F’s marquee showdown between Borussia Dortmund and holders Real Madrid in Germany.
Fellow countryman Michael Oliver will make his refereeing debut in the Champions League proper when Sporting Lisbon host Legia Warsaw in Group F.
Scotland’s Thomson has been assigned to Copenhagen against Club Brugge in the Danish capital.
In Group G’s other game, Cuneyt Cakir of Turkey will be in the middle for English champions Leicester City’s first European home game against FC Porto.
And Spanish referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz has been appointed to Tottenham’s first away game in Group E against Russian side CSKA Moscow.
Clattenburg will encounter Real for the first time since their victory over Madrid rivals Atletico on penalties in last season’s final at Milan’s San Siro.
It was one of three major showpiece games he has received during a memorable year for the Newcastle-based whistler – including the FA Cup Final at Wembley and Euro 2016 Final at the Parc des Princes.
The 41-year-old has enjoyed a mixed start to the Premier League season but was criticised for failing to award penalties in Leicester’s goalless draw with Arsenal and the Manchester derby at Old Trafford.
He will be ably assisted at the Westfalenstadion by his regular linesmen Jake Collin and Simon Bennett, additional assistants Andre Marriner and Lee Mason, as well as fourth official Harry Lennard.
Meanwhile, Oliver will arguably handle the biggest game of his career thus far, having never previously ventured beyond the qualifying stage of Europe’s premier competition as the man in the middle.
The Northumberland whistler – who went to Euro 2016 as an additional assistant referee – incurred the wrath of Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho after their 3-1 defeat at Watford earlier this month.
He is used to the big game occasion with six games at Wembley under his belt at the tender age of 31, while his display was credible in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Chelsea last weekend.
Oliver will be able to lean on the experience of Stuart Burt and Gary Beswick, additional assistants Craig Pawson and Jon Moss, as well as fourth official Stephen Child.
Elsewhere, Thomson has played second fiddle in Scotland this year to Willie Collum, who was preferred as their Euro 2016 representative and the first Old Firm derby of the season between Celtic and Rangers.
It completes a busy week for the former lawyer, who oversaw Aberdeen’s League Cup win over St Johnstone on Thursday night and Partick Thistle’s 1-1 draw with Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday.
The Paisley referee will be joined by David McGeachie and Alan Mulvanny, additional assistants Steven McLean and Andrew Dallas, and Graeme Stewart as fourth official.
And Leicester will be in capable hands for their Champions League bow at the King Power Stadium, in the form of experienced disciplinarian Cakir.
The insurance agent, who took charge of Barcelona’s 3-1 win over Juventus in the 2015 final, made history in the competition last term by becoming the first referee to oversee consecutive semi-final matches.
Istanbul-based Cakir has also handled last-four games at Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup, while he was also selected for Euro 2016 and the summer’s Olympic Games men’s football tournament in Rio.
But he has a history of upsetting English teams in the past with controversial decisions against them, not least Manchester United for the dismissal of Nani in their last-16 defeat against Real Madrid in 2013.
Cakir’s team of officials consists of Bahattin Duran, Tarik Ongun, Huseyin Gocek, Baris Simsek and Emre Eyisoy.
Spurs’ trip to Moscow presents another testing encounter for Lahoz, who has taken over the mantle of Spain’s number one official following the retirement of Carlos Velasco Carballo.
The Valencia-based referee has officiated four El Clasico games between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and is a familiar face to English teams having encountered three in his four Champions League games last season.
He controlled United’s 4-0 play-off second-leg win at Club Brugges, Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat at Porto in the group stages and Manchester City’s 3-1 win at Dynamo Kiev in the quarter-finals.
You can view the full list of match official appointments here.
He has issued four yellow cards in each but opted not to send off Gers midfielder Harry Forrester for a second bookable offence at Dens Park last time out – even Rangers boss Mark Warburton admitted another referee might have done so.
Thomson did, however, give Killie boss Lee Clark his marching orders after just 10 minutes the week before at Rugby Park on the advice of the fourth official.
It’s one of three Scottish Cup Finals that Thomson has overseen as referee, as well as three Scottish League Cup Finals on his CV.
His vast experience as the longest-serving official amongst the current crop includes 16 games at Hampden Park, a number of play-off matches across the divisions, Champions League and Europa League games, international asssignments and selection to officiate at Euro 2012.
The longest-serving of the current crop of Scottish officials, he has a wealth of experience having handled 11 previous Old Firm derbies, with the first coming in April 2006.
Those past encounters include the 2011 League Cup Final at the national stadium in which the Paisley lawyer dismissed Celtic defender Emilio Izaguirre for a professional foul and overturned a penalty given to the Gers, who won 2-1 after extra time.
Meanwhile, John Beaton will take charge of the other semi-final between Hibernian and Dundee United.
He will be in the middle as Championship side Hibs tussle with the Premiership’s bottom club at the national stadium on Saturday, April 16 (KO 12:15 BST).
Beaton will be working alongside Graham Chambers and Stuart Stevenson, with Euan Anderson the fourth official – as he was for a League Cup semi in January. The goal-line officials are Andrew Dallas and Alan Muir.
Incidentally, Muir was behind the goal in the Scottish Cup semi 12 months ago when a handball on the line by Inverness’ Josh Meekings went unspotted in their controversial 3-2 extra-time win over Celtic.
Beaton will also be going to Euro 2016 as a goal-line official as part of Willie Collum’s team of officials for the summer tournament in France.
Thomson and Beaton handled both Edinburgh derby meetings between Hibs and Hearts in the quarter-finals, with Beaton sending off two players in the Easter Road replay which Hibs won 1-0.
Two-time winners Hibs have not lifted the Scottish Cup since 1902 as they bid to reach their second major cup final of the season after losing 2-1 to Ross County in the League Cup showpiece last month.
Rangers – who have not won the Scottish Cup since 2009 – have secured promotion to the Scottish Premiership in boss Mark Warburton’s debut season to ensure the Old Firm derby returns to the top-flight next season.
Premiership leaders Celtic are bidding to reach their first Scottish Cup final since 2013 in Ronny Deila’s second campaign in charge.
Both ties will be screened live on Sky Sports, while Hibs v Dundee United will also be shown on BBC Scotland.
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.
Ross County set up their first Scottish League Cup final against Hibernian on March 13 after knocking out 10-man holders Celtic in an enthralling semi-final at Hampden Park.
Ross County reach second major final and first in League Cup
Efe Ambrose sent off early on for the holders
County’s first win over the Hoops since March 2013
Celtic lose first League Cup game in three years
ROSS County reached their first ever Scottish League Cup final as 10-man Celtic’s domestic treble hopes were dashed for a second successive season at a rain-soaked Hampden Park.
Gary Mackay-Steven looked to have set the holders on the way inside 27 seconds by stroking into an empty net but Martin Woods replied from the spot after Efe Ambrose saw red on 13 minutes for bringing down Alex Schalk as the last man.
Paul Quinn headed home early in the second half on his second County debut before Schalk fired home an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box to make it 3-1.
Leigh Griffiths saw a fiercely-struck penalty and another deflected low effort kept out superbly by Staggies keeper Scott Fox during a tense finale.
The Premiership leaders were in sparkling form heading into Ronny Deila’s 100th game in charge but – after another catastrophic semi-final loss – must now focus on sealing a fifth successive league title and progressing in the Scottish Cup.
The post-mortem continued in the Hampden dressing room for over half-an-hour after the final whistle – and the Hoops will need a quick response with a trip to second-placed Aberdeen on Wednesday night.
The Staggies – fourth in the Premiership – must have feared the worst when the Hoops made the best possible start as Griffiths raced on to Calum McGregor’s poked pass and squared unselfishly for Mackay-Steven to sweep home straight from the kick-off.
Celtic, bidding to reach their 31st League Cup final, could have been out of sight in the opening exchanges had Ambrose managed to convert two set-piece opportunities.
The centre-back’s first header was scrambled off the goalline by Richard Foster before he steered another Stuart Armstrong corner off target when well placed from six yards.
But the tie turned dramatically when the Nigerian international was ordered off by referee Craig Thomson for cutting across the knee of Schalk – who would have been clean through from Jackson Irvine’s pass which was flicked on by Woods.
The County midfielder had to wait for McGregor to be sacrificed, for Danish defender Erik Sviatchenko to make his debut, before sending Craig Gordon the wrong way from the spot for his first goal of the season.
Celtic slowly reasserted their superiority as Armstrong curled narrowly over from 18 yards after County appealed in vain for an offside flag.
Seeking to cash in on their numerical advantage, the Staggies made a tactical change with Jonathan Franks replacing Stewart Murdoch just before the half-hour mark.
It came as County gained a foothold with Gordon parrying behind a fizzing 25-yard effort from man of the match Woods but Celtic ended the first half strongly as stand-in skipper Mikael Lustig’s header was repelled by a stretching Fox.
McIntyre’s team, however, completed a stunning turnaround just three minutes into the second half from a set-piece routine executed to absolute perfection.
Woods’ curling corner was nodded back across by captain Andrew Davies for fellow centre-back Quinn to nod home from close range.
Amid the driving Glasgow rain, Celtic’s 10 men offered a meek response and found themselves further adrift just after the hour mark.
Woods was again heavily involved with a driving run and incisive pass for Dutchman Schalk, who took one touch to control before rifling into the roof of the net to spark wild celebrations in the County end.
It prompted some Celtic fans to head for an early exit but – despite the introduction of captain Scott Brown after two months out injured – a stirring comeback was not forthcoming.
The Hoops had a golden opportunity to reduce the arrears yet Griffiths could not add to his 27 goals this season as Fox pulled off a crucial save from the spot after County substitute Brian Graham was harshly adjudged to have handled in the box.
Fox also had to react well to shovel another Griffiths effort over the crossbar, which had taken a slight deflection off the boot of Davies.
At the other end, Irvine almost made it more convincing for County when his well-struck volley was beaten away by Gordon from Michael Gardyne’s cross.
The Staggies defended their two-goal cushion resolutely to close out a famous win in their first-ever League Cup semi-final.
For 15-time winners Celtic, it was another sobering experience at the national stadium where their defensive vulnerability was magnified – and Deila’s future will again be on the agenda as the latest dream of a third clean sweep in their history was popped.
Substitutes: Franks (on for Murdoch 28′), Graham (on for Schalk 71′) and Boyce (on for Gardyne 83′).
Substitutes: Sviatchenko (on for McGregor 14′), Brown (on for Bitton 67′) and Forrest (on for Armstrong 79′).
Not used: Bailly (GK), Izaguirre, Nesbitt, Ciftci.
Booked: Gordon (49′), Lustig (58′), Johansen (90+3′)
Sent-off: Ambrose (13′)
Goals: Mackay-Steven (1′)
Missed penalty: Griffiths (77′)
Referee: Craig Thomson (Scotland) – 7/10 Assistants: Joseph Lawson and Gary Hilland Fourth Official: Greg Aitken
“It’s a fantastic achievement for the club and I am really pleased for the chairman as he has done so much for the club down the years. We were determined to give him a second trip to a national final. We thought the way it started it was going to be a long afternoon for us.
“We set up to be stiff and that was anything but stiff. We had to hang in and it was a matter of bottle. We had a bit of luck and getting the penalty got us back into it. But Celtic are a great team and Scott Fox made some incredible saves. It should be a great day in the final.”
“We had everything in our hands but the red card changed everything. 80 minutes with 10 men makes it hard for us. I haven’t talked to Efe about it [the red card] but he’s very disappointed. That’s how football is.
“In the end it’s my responsibility and I’m very disappointed today. All the players are too but what’s done is done. In three days we go into a very important game and we have to look forward to that.”