Scottish Premiership: Willie Collum to referee Motherwell v Rangers

Willie Collum will take charge of Saturday’s lunchtime encounter at Fir Park, with Bobby Madden appointed to Celtic’s televised match against Hearts on Sunday.

willie-collum-referee-albion-rovers-v-celtic-22nd-jan-2017
Solid: Collum issued just one yellow card and was on top of proceedings during Celtic’s 3-0 Scottish Cup win at Albion Rovers last weekend (Picture from Sky Sports)

WILLIE Collum will be the referee for Rangers’ televised Scottish Premiership match at Motherwell on Saturday.

The Euro 2016 official, who turned 38 last week, will be in the middle as the Gers make the trip to Fir Park for the lunchtime game live on Sky Sports (KO 12:45 GMT).

He will be assisted by David McGeachie and Gordon Crawford, with Euan Anderson on fourth official duties.

Collum – who won’t have far to travel from his Lanarkshire residence – will oversee his 29th game of the season in all competitions.

He has so far brandished 90 yellow cards, sent off five players and awarded nine penalties.

The Religious Education teacher will have no excuse for taking his eye off the ball after visiting a Specsavers store this week, in recognition of the partnership the opticians share with the Scottish FA.

It will be a 13th top-flight match of the campaign for Collum, who has handled a League Cup Final, two Scottish Cup Finals and the 2015 Uefa Super Cup.

The Glasgow-born whistler will control his fourth Rangers game of the campaign – and first of 2017 – after sending off Philippe Senderos in their 5-1 Old Firm derby defeat at Celtic in September before 1-0 victories at Inverness in October and home to Dundee in November.

Meanwhile, Collum will be in the middle for a third Motherwell match of 2016-17 after their 4-2 derby win over Hamilton in September – in which he awarded the Steelmen a spotkick – and 1-1 draw at St Johnstone last month.

It will be the third time he takes charge of a fixture involving the two sides – after Rangers’ 2-1 win in a League Cup semi-final at Hampden in 2011 and a goalless draw at Ibrox in the league in 2012, both of which passed without major incident.

Mark Warburton’s second-placed Rangers will be looking to extend the gap over Aberdeen in third, which currently stands at two points, while Mark McGhee’s Motherwell could move into the top six with a first top-flight win over the Gers since December 2002.

The sides met as recently as last weekend as Kenny Miller scored twice for Rangers, who came from behind to beat the Steelmen in their Scottish Cup fourth round tie at Ibrox.


Madden gets another top-flight test

Bobby Madden in action
Well-known: Madden has established himself as a referee domestically in the Scottish top-flight and on the European stage in the Europa League (Picture from Sky Sports)

Bobby Madden will take charge of Celtic’s televised encounter with Hearts on Sunday.

The 38-year-old will be in the middle when the champions host the Jambos at Parkhead in front of the Sky cameras (KO 13:00 GMT).

His assistants will be Graham Chambers and Stephen Mitchell, while Greg Aitken will be on fourth official duties.

Madden was also in the middle for a 3-1 Celtic win over Hearts last season in his only other experience of a fixture between the sides.

He enjoyed a largely quiet display but booked six players and sent off Hearts defender Juwon Oshaniwa late on for a second yellow card.

It will only be the 18th game Madden will have officiated this season, after missing two months as he bravely battled thyroid cancer.

Overall, he has dished out 48 yellow cards, two red cards and pointed to the penalty spot 11 times in his 17 matches so far.

The East Kilbride whistler, who was an additional assistant referee at Euro 2016, will handle his third Celtic game of the campaign after their 4-1 win over 10-man Aberdeen in August and 2-1 success against Dundee in December – both also at Celtic Park.

His only Hearts match so far was their 3-0 victory over Motherwell at Tynecastle in November – in which only two players were cautioned.

Madden’s biggest career honour to date came in Celtic’s 2-0 win over 10-man Dundee United in the 2015 League Cup showpiece at Hampden Park.

Both sides were in action in midweek – with Hearts beating Raith Rovers 4-2 after extra time in a Scottish Cup replay, while Celtic edged past St Johnstone 1-0 in their game in hand in the league.

You can see the rest of the SPFL appointments for this weekend here.

Scottish League Cup: Thomson and Clancy to referee semi-finals

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
Chosen ones: Thomson (left) and Clancy have been handed the responsibility to oversee the 2016 League Cup last-four ties (Pictures from BBC Scotland and Sky Sports)

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…

Craig Thomson (Rangers v Celtic Scottish Cup semi - 17th April 2016)
For the big occasion: It will be Thomson’s 17th domestic match at Hampden and his 10th cup semi-final (Picture from Sky Sports)

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.

craig-thomson-speaks-to-scott-brown-v-rangers-17th-april-2016
Longest-serving: Thomson has officiated in Scotland’s top-flight since 2002 and appointed Fifa status a year later (Picture from Sky Sports)

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.

Meanwhile, a week later and also in front of the BT cameras, Thomson refused to co-operate with the broadcaster’s staff before starting the second half of Celtic’s 4-2 win at St Johnstone more than a minute ahead of schedule.

They are the only occasions Thomson, who has handled three Scottish Cup and three League Cup Finals, has encountered either of the Old Firm sides this term.

The 44-year-old handled Copenhagen’s 4-0 win over Club Brugge in last month’s Champions League group match and the Netherlands’ 4-1 victory over Belarus in a World Cup qualifier earlier this month.

But he has only refereed one previous League Cup tie this season – Aberdeen’s last-gasp 1-0 victory over St Johnstone at Pittodrie in the quarter-finals.

Overall, Thomson has issued 51 yellow cards, sent off three players and awarded four penalties in 12 games across five different competitions so far this term.

REACTION:

Celtic fans have been particularly vocal on social media, expressing their disappointment that the Scottish FA have again looked towards Thomson to keep the peace in the Glasgow derby…


Another step in Clancy’s burgeoning reputation…

Kevin Clancy before the 2016 Scottish League Cup Final
Footnote: Clancy is widely regarded as a lenient and respectable referee who keeps control of games well and rarely attracts controversy (Picture from BBC Scotland)

Despite several appearances as a fourth official and additional assistant, it will only be the second time Clancy steps out as referee at the national stadium.

The Glasgow-born whistler will still have fond memories of his previous visit after overseeing his first major final in last season’s League Cup showpiece, booking only two players as Ross County beat Hibernian 2-1.

He was also in the middle for Rangers’ shock 1-0 defeat by Raith Rovers in the 2014 Challenge Cup Final at Hibs’ Easter Road.

Surprisingly, it will be the 32-year-old’s first ever domestic cup semi as referee too – in this his fifth season officiating in Scotland’s top-flight.

Former lawyer Clancy has previously been the fourth official for the 2013 and 2015 League Cup Final – as well as Ross County’s 3-1 semi-final win over Celtic last term, which was refereed by Thomson.

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.

But the Renfrewshire-based official missed out on a place in Willie Collum’s team of officials for Euro 2016 last summer, with Bobby Madden and John Beaton selected for the role.

Kevin Clancy (Dundee v Dundee Utd - 2nd January 2016)
Big games: Clancy has handled several Europa League matches as well as Dundee and Edinburgh derbies domestically (Picture from Sky Sports)

Clancy has encountered both sides once in league games this term – issuing seven yellows in Aberdeen’s goalless draw with Hearts in August and booking six players in Morton’s 2-1 victory over Dunfermline.

It will be his fifth League Cup tie of the campaign after Partick Thistle’s 1-0 win at Airdrieonians, Dundee’s 6-2 victory over Dumbarton, Alloa’s 1-0 success at Raith Rovers, and Celtic’s 5-0 win over Motherwell in the last 16 phase.

Overall, Clancy has brandished 54 yellow cards, sent off Kilmarnock’s Greg Taylor in their 1-1 draw with Rangers in August, and pointed to the penalty spot three times in 13 matches in all competitions.

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.

2014 winners Aberdeen have complained about the scheduling of the tie, with the lunchtime kick-off not giving enough time for their travelling support to make the trip from the north east.

Craig Thomson in charge of St Johnstone v Celtic

The experienced Paisley whistler is the referee for the champions’ Saturday lunchtime trip to McDiarmid Park.

Craig Thomson (Rangers v Celtic Scottish Cup semi - 17th April 2016)
Vast: The former solicitor was promoted to a Category One official in 2002 after just two years in the SFL and was named on the Fifa list 12 months later (Picture from Sky Sports)

CRAIG Thomson will be the man in the middle for Celtic’s Scottish Premiership encounter against St Johnstone on Saturday.

The experienced 44-year-old has been assigned to his second successive lunchtime kick-off when the champions make the trip to McDiarmid Park (KO 12:15pm, live on BT Sport).

It will be his third match of the campaign – all in the top-flight – after Rangers’ 2-1 win at Dundee last weekend and Motherwell’s victory over Kilmarnock by the same scoreline on the opening day.

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.

He officiated 44 matches across eight competitions last season – brandishing 181 yellow cards, sending off eight players and awarding 19 penalties.

The Edinburgh-born whistler also handled Celtic’s second league game last term – booking six players during their 4-2 win over Inverness Caley Thistle at Parkhead.

He oversaw three other Hoops games in 2015-16 – their 2-1 defeat at Aberdeen in September, 5-0 win over Dundee United in October, and the 1-1 draw at Hamilton in February in which he controversially sent off Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata.

Thomson also handled both their domestic cup semi-final losses – dismissing Efe Ambrose early on in the 3-1 defeat to Ross County in the League Cup and keeping a lid on the thrilling Scottish Cup Old Firm clash as Rangers progressed on penalties.

Craig Thomson referee
Secondary: Thomson is no longer preferred to officiate the so-called “big games” in Scottish football, with Willie Collum considered the leading official (Picture from Sky Sports)

The Renfrewshire-based official also encountered St Johnstone seven times last season – including their 2-1 win over Motherwell 12 months ago, 3-1 League Cup quarter-final win at Morton and, most recently, the 3-0 win over Aberdeen in April.

He was also the man in charge of the Saints’ biggest game in their 132-year history when they beat Dundee United 2-0 at Celtic’s Parkhead in the 2014 Scottish Cup Final to clinch their first major trophy.

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.

Thomson oversaw Celtic’s 1-0 victory at McDiarmid Park on Boxing Day in 2013 but has only handled two other league games between the sides.

He will be assisted on the day by David McGeachie and Alan Mulvanny, with Andrew Dallas the fourth official.

Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic have not played in the league since their 2-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle on the opening weekend after cancelling their fixture with home game against Partick Thistle to play in a friendly against Inter Milan, much to Alan Archibald’s dismay.

As the Hoops chase a sixth successive title this term, St Johnstone are looking to finish in the top-six for the sixth season in a row.

Tommy Wright’s men have started off the league campaign positively, with a goalless draw at home to Aberdeen and 2-1 win against Motherwell at Fir Park last Saturday.

You can view the rest of the weekend’s appointments here.

Kevin Clancy to handle first Dundee derby of 2016

Kevin Clancy has been confirmed as the referee for the first Dundee derby of 2016 when Dundee host bottom-club Dundee United in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday.

Kevin Clancy referee (Dundee Utd 0-1 Hearts - 18th Oct 2015)
Previous: Clancy sent off United midfielder Blair Spittal and awarded the Jambos a spotkick which proved to be the only goal in Hearts’ 1-0 win at Tannadice in October (Picture from Sky Sports)

KEVIN Clancy will take charge of Saturday’s Dundee derby at Dens Park in the Scottish Premiership (KO 12:30 GMT).

The 32-year-old’s only other fixture involving the two sides was the 2015 New Year clash at Tannadice as Dundee United thrashed Dundee 6-2.

He will be assisted for the televised lunchtime kick-off by David McGeachie and Douglas Ross while the fourth official will be Don Robertson.

It will be Clancy’s 22nd game of the season in all competitions – he has so far brandished 87 yellow cards, awarded five penalties and sent off four players.

Clancy has handled three Dundee United games so far this season – all at home against Aberdeen on the opening weekend, Inverness in September and Hearts in October.

He has also overseen two Dundee matches in the league – their 2-1 home win over St Johnstone in mid-August and 1-1 draw at Hearts in November.

His last match was Wednesday night’s goalless draw between Aberdeen and Partick Thistle at Pittodrie, in which he issued five yellow cards.

Kevin Clancy watches on (Rangers v St Johnstone - 22nd Sept 2015)
Respected: Clancy is widely regarded as a lenient referee who keeps control of games well and rarely attracts controversy (Picture from BBC Scotland)

The Renfrewshire-based whistler first took up the whistle in 2000 and was admitted to the Scottish FA five years later.

Clancy 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 has refereed the 2014 Ramsdens Cup Final, League Cup and Scottish Cup quarter-finals, while he has been fourth official for two League Cup Finals and an additional assistant referee for the 2014 Scottish Cup Final.

He could also be part of Willie Collum’s team of officials who will travel to France next summer for the 2016 European Championships.

Kevin Clancy in charge (Dundee United v Hearts - 18th Oct 2015)
Dozen: Clancy has now officiated 12 Premiership games so far in 2015-16 (Picture from Sky Sports)

This season’s other Dundee derby – a dramatic 2-2 draw at Tannadice in August – was handled by fellow Fifa official John Beaton.

Dundee and Dundee United are the two closest geographical rivals in British football – separated by a mere 30 yards on Tannadice Street in the City of Discovery but five places currently in the Premiership table.

Elsewhere, on a day of derbies in the Scottish top-flight, John Beaton will referee the Highland derby between Inverness and Ross County at the Caledonian Stadium (KO 15:00 GMT).

Greg Aitken will take charge of Motherwell’s clash with Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton Academical at Fir Park (KO 15:00 GMT) while Stephen Finnie will be on duty at Celtic Park as Partick Thistle make the short trip from west Glasgow to visit the champions (KO 15:00 GMT).

Craig Thomson to referee top-two Pittodrie clash

Referee Craig Thomson will be in the middle for the top-two clash between Aberdeen and Celtic at Pittodrie in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday.

Craig Thomson referee (Inverness CT v Celtic - 11th April 2015)
Past encounters: Thomson has overseen nine previous Aberdeen-Celtic games stretching back to 2004 – seven of which have been at Pittodrie (Picture from Sky Sports)

CRAIG Thomson will be the man in the middle when the Scottish Premiership’s top-two meet at Pittodrie this weekend.

The 43-year-old from Renfrewshire was also in charge the last time champions Celtic faced Aberdeen when Scott Brown’s goal settled the contest on May 10 which featured four bookings.

Thomson has a wealth of experience in handling high-profile matches which will lend well when one of the most eagerly-anticipated fixtures in Scottish football takes place in front of the Sky cameras on Saturday lunchtime.

Ronny Deila’s league leaders are a point ahead of the Dons – who are level on 15 points with third-placed Hearts and have a game in hand against Hamilton Accies next Tuesday night.

Thomson will be assisted for the 12:30pm kick-off by David McGeachie and Willie Conquer while the fourth official will be George Salmond.

Craig Thomson books Scott Brown (Celtic v Rangers - 1st February 2015)
Well-respected: Thomson is highly thought of by managers and players alike but has a tendency to use cards more frequently (Picture from BBC Scotland)

The Paisley-based whistler missed the first two weekends of the season because of illness and was replaced by Willie Collum for the Petrofac Training Cup first round tie between Hibernian and Rangers at Easter Road.

He has since overseen four top-flight games and Falkirk’s League Cup win at Partick Thistle – brandishing 24 yellow cards, sending off Motherwell’s Jake Taylor at St Johnstone and awarding two penalties.

It will be the second time that Thomson encounters Celtic already this term after their 4-2 win over Inverness at Celtic Park on August 15.

The former solicitor appears to have been selected over fellow Uefa Elite official Collum, who has endured a tough start to the domestic campaign having sent off Hearts defender Callum Paterson at Hamilton Acciesa red card which has subsequently been rescinded.

Among his highlights last term were the League Cup semi-final between Celtic and Rangers, the Premiership play-off final second leg at Fir Park, 26 Premiership matches and the Scottish Cup quarter-final between Dundee United and Celtic which featured three red cards and two spotkicks.

Craig Thomson at Tannadice (Dundee Utd v Celtic - 8th March 2015)
Busy: Thomson handled 47 games across seven different competitions last season and sent off eight players in the process (Picture from Sky Sports)

Edinburgh-born Thomson oversaw eight Celtic games in total in 2014-15 compared to six involving Aberdeen.

The vastly-experienced official – who has been a regular in the Scottish top-flight since 2002 and joined the Fifa list a year later – has been in the middle for three League Cup finals and three Scottish Cup finals as well as many Champions League and international matches.

He also went to the European Championships in 2012 as one of 12 referees – his first major tournament – and is among the officials vying for a place in next summer’s finals in France.

Celtic won all four league meetings with Derek McInnes’s side last season in games overseen by referees Alan Muir, Bobby Madden and John Beaton.

Craig Thomson referee
Thomson controversially sent off Virgil van Dijk when Celtic were condemned to their only league defeat of the 2013-14 season at Pittodrie (Picture from BBC Scotland)

ELSEWHERE….

SPFL Premiership match official appointments (11th and 12th Sept 2015)

Steven McLean will take charge of a first Hearts game since the opening weekend against Inverness in the Highlands on Friday night.

Brian Colvin will be in the middle for a third Premiership match of the season when strugglers Dundee United and Kilmarnock meet at Tannadice on Saturday.

Willie Collum maintains his near ever-present record in the top-flight when handling a sixth game as Partick Thistle host Dundee at Firhill.

Motherwell’s clash with Ross County will be overseen by Don Robertson while Andrew Dallas will handle St Johnstone’s match against Hamilton Accies.

Willie Collum to referee Hamilton v Aberdeen

Willie Collum will be the referee for the Scottish Premiership encounter between Hamilton Accies and Aberdeen on Sunday at New Douglas Park.

Willie Collum (Scottish Cup 4th round - Hearts 0-4 Celtic 30th Nov 2014)
Most used: Collum will oversee his 19th Premiership game of the season on Sunday – more than any other Category One referee

REFEREE Willie Collum will take charge of Hamilton Accies’ Scottish Premiership clash with Aberdeen this weekend. 

The 36-year-old will be the man in the middle at New Douglas Park on Sunday afternoon for the televised encounter (KO 15:30 GMT live on Sky Sports).

He will be assisted in South Lanarkshire by linesmen David McGeachie and Dougie Potter while Don Robertson has been assigned to fourth official duties.

SPFL Match Official Appointments - 13th to 15th February 2015

 

 

 

Derek McInnes’s Dons – who are joint leaders heading into the weekend – travel to South Lanarkshire to face a Hamilton side sliding down the top six after an inconsistent run under player-manager Martin Canning.

Collum appeared to have been overlooked last month for two rounds of Premiership games having been demoted to the Championship and fourth official duties in successive weeks after sending off three players and awarding four penalties in his first two matches of 2015.

He pointed to the spot three times and sent off St Mirren’s Kenny McLean and Kilmarnock’s Craig Slater in a contentious contest at Rugby Park on New Year’s Day with McLean later winning his appeal for the red card he received following the clash with Ross Barbour.

Three days later, he sent off Motherwell defender Stephen McManus for an apparent handball on the goalline – even though the ball appeared to strike him on the shoulder – and awarded a penalty for Aberdeen which Adam Rooney converted in a 2-0 Dons win at Fir Park.

Last weekend, he was at the helm for Inverness Caley Thistle’s 2-1 victory over Partick Thistle in the Scottish Cup fourth round at Firhill.

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.

The Religious Education teacher – based in Belshill, North Lanarkshire – has officiated 30 games in all competitions so far this season – brandishing 100 yellow cards, sending off 11 players and awarding an astonishing 18 penalties.

Domestically, Collum – who refereed the 2013 Scottish Cup Final and 2012 Scottish League Cup Final – is now regarded by many as Scotland’s leading whistler, overtaking Craig Thomson in that respect.

Meanwhile, on the European front, he has been a Uefa Category One official since 2012 and has officiated both Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Champions League this campaign.

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.

Hamilton – who were promoted via the Premiership play-offs last season – are winless in six games since Canning took over the managerial reins from Norwich-bound Alex Neil and have both won and lost 3-0 in the previous two encounters with the Dons this term.

Despite exits to Dundee and Dundee United in the domestic cups, Aberdeen have won nine of their last 11 league games in their pursuit of leaders Celtic – who could go clear at the top if they avoid defeat away to St Johnstone on Saturday.

It will also be the first time the vanishing spray – a foam canister used to mark 10-yard walls for free-kicks around the penalty area – will be used in the Premiership after being implemented last weekend in the Scottish Cup.

Steven McLean in charge of Dundee United v Celtic

REFEREE Steven McLean will take charge of Sunday’s televised Scottish Premiership encounter between third-placed Dundee United and leaders Celtic at Tannadice.

Steven McLean referee
New experience: It is the first time McLean will officiate a league fixture between the two sides

REFEREE Steven McLean will take charge of Sunday’s Scottish Premiership encounter between Dundee United and Celtic.

The 33-year-old will be in the middle when the current leaders and defending champions travel to Tannadice for the televised lunchtime kick-off.

He will be assisted on Tayside by linesmen David McGeachie and Joseph Lawson while Don Robertson has been assigned to fourth official duties.

Scottish Premiership Match Official Appointments - 20th and 21st December 2014
This weekend’s Scottish Premiership match official appointments

McLean has overseen 19 games in all competitions this season – including a Europa League group match in September – and has issued 59 yellow cards and three reds.

It will be the second occasion he will handle a Celtic match this season after their 1-0 home defeat by Hamilton Accies at the start of October.

McLean has already encountered United three times including September’s Dundee derby victory at Dens Park and – most recently – their 1-0 defeat at Motherwell last month.

The Lanarkshire-based whistler has made huge strides in the past 12 months, culminating in his first appointment to a national cup final in the League Cup in March as Aberdeen beat Inverness on penalties at Celtic Park.

Steven McLean in Scottish League Cup Final 2014
Barely noticed: McLean’s biggest appointment of his career to date passed without incident

He made an assured Edinburgh derby debut in May 2013 and has also handled several New Firm and Highland derbies in the league with minimal difficulty.

McLean, who is the brother of former Dundee United defender Brian, is now seen as a senior official having been entrusted with various key matches in the 2013-14 campaign.

Among 42 games across all competitions, he oversaw Hearts’ 2-0 win over Hibs in March, Celtic’s title clinching victory over Partick Thistle as well as the League One play-off second leg between Dunfermline and Cowdenbeath.

Overall, McLean brandished 108 yellows and six red cards as well as pointing to the penalty spot on 12 occasions last term although his strict card-happy nature has somewhat diminished since the start of his top-flight career in May 2010.

He was criticised for handing out 12 red cards during the 2011-12 campaign but officiated at the 2011 UEFA Under-17 European Championships in Serbia, taking charge of three matches including the semi-final clash between Denmark and Germany.

The qualified fitness instructor – who is also a Referee Development Officer within the SFA, along with Craig Thomson – steadily established himself as a regular in the SPL with a talkative but heavy handed approach.

He was selected for his first high-profile match at the national stadium in January 2012 when handling an Ayrshire derby in the League Cup semi-finals as Kilmarnock beat Ayr United after extra time at Hampden Park.

As well as being lifted up the pecking order in Scotland, his notable improvement in recent times has led to further recognition on the European and international stages.

McLean – who has been refereeing since 1997 – has been a Fifa Category Two official in 2011 having first been included on the list a year earlier.

He has taken up the role of additional assistant referee for numerous Champions League games in the past as part of Craig Thomson and Willie Collum’s officiating teams.

Craig Thomson referee with yellow card
Reverse fixture: Craig Thomson was the referee for Celtic’s 6-1 win over United at Parkhead back in August

Seven points separate the two sides going into the weekend with United third in the table while Celtic are searching for a ninth successive league win.

It has also been confirmed that McLean will oversee his third Edinburgh derby – and the first of 2015 – when Scottish Championship leaders Hearts host rivals Hibernian at Tynecastle on January 5.

Assisting him on that occasion will be Douglas Ross and Stuart Stevenson with Kevin Clancy acting as fourth official.