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.
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.
Rangers will face a Scottish Cup fifth-round replay at Rugby Park after interim boss Lee McCulloch guided Kilmarnock to a goalless draw on his return to Ibrox.
Rangers fail to score for first time in 32 games this season
Former Gers skipper McCulloch in interim charge of Killie for first time
Championship side dominant against Premiership strugglers
Both sides in Monday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final draw
RANGERS failed to score for the first time this season as Lee McCulloch earned a Scottish Cup fifth-round replay on his Ibrox return.
The Championship leaders created a host of opportunities as James Tavernier hit the post in the first half and Danny Wilson headed against the crossbar after the break.
Lee Wallace and Andy Halliday were also denied by visiting keeper Jamie MacDonald but the Gers could not secure an eighth successive win in all competitions.
Premiership strugglers Kilmarnock – under interim boss McCulloch for the first time – withstood large swathes of pressure and survived the late dismissal of substitute Kallum Higginbotham for a high challenge on Tavernier.
Ex-Gers captain McCulloch – in temporary charge after Gary Locke resigned last weekend – was “delighted” and “proud” of his side’s resilience to earn only a fourth clean sheet of the season after back-to-back defeats by Hamilton and Dundee United which had “damaged confidence”.
Seeking some additional guile from midfield, Warburton introduced Harry Forrester and the fit-again Jason Holt on the hour in place of Championship player of the month Kenny Miller and the disappointing Gedion Zelalem.
Former Killie loanee Forrester almost made an instant impact, sending a low daisycutter past the post after picking up a loose ball on the edge of the box.
With Rangers the only team offering a second-half threat, a Tavernier free-kick drifted inches wide before Wilson looped a header from Forrester’s corner on to the woodwork from six yards.
Martyn Waghorn looked certain to score but couldn’t bring McKay’s pass under his spell when free in the box as the groans around the stadium grew in volume.
Killie ended the game a man light after referee Bobby Madden gave Higginbotham his marching orders with 90 seconds of normal time remaining for a lunge on Tavernier near the touchline.
The visitors desperately threw their bodies on the line – quite literally in the case of Magennis to get in the way of Waghorn’s shot.
But despite their best efforts, Rangers could not find a breakthrough and face a tricky test on the artificial pitch at Rugby Park on February 16.
Although talks have opened with Billy Davies and Lee Clark over the managerial vacancy, McCulloch did his case of keeping the job no harm at all and could still be in charge for the replay a week on Tuesday.
Substitutes: Forrester (on for Miller 60′), Holt (on for Zelalem 61′) and Law (on for Kiernan 74′).
Not used: Bell (GK), Thompson, Shiels, Clark.
Booked: Holt (68′)
Substitutes: O’Hara (on for Dicker 65′) and Higginbotham (on for Obadeyi 74′).
Not used: Brennan (GK), Ashcroft, Frizzell, Hamill, Boyd.
Booked: Smith (29′), Slater (73′)
Sent-off: Higginbotham (89′)
Referee: Bobby Madden (Scotland) – 8/10 Attendance: 33,581
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.
Fifa referee Andrew Dallas will take charge of his first match involving Celtic this weekend when the Scottish Premiership leaders visit League One in the Scottish Cup.
REFEREE Andrew Dallas will take charge of his first Celtic match this weekend as the Hoops travel to Stranraer in the Scottish Cup.
The 27-year-old – who is the son of former World Cup referee Hugh – has enjoyed a meteoric rise having been on the Fifa list for two years already.
But he will be under a different spotlight when the Scottish Premiership champions visit the League One part-timers in a fourth-round tie expected to be watched by millions on Sky Sports on Sunday (KO 15:15 GMT).
Dallas will be assisted at Stair Park by Graeme Leslie and Stuart Hodge while Gavin Ross will be the fourth official.
The Lanarkshire-based official took charge of his first Premiership game in August 2014 and has officiated 13 more since.
He put in a competent display in his only game of 2016 in the Renfrewshire derby in the Championship – issuing just four bookings as St Mirren won 1-0 at Morton.
Dallas has been an additional assistant referee and fourth official for a number of Europa League and international games while his main domestic appointment was a League Two play-off semi-final between Queen’s Park and Arbroath.
36-time winners Celtic are bidding to win the oldest national trophy in world football for only the second time in the last five seasons after their 2013 triumph – and for the first time under boss Ronny Deila.
The Blues – now under the stewardship of Brian Reid – knocked out fellow League One side Dunfermline after a replay at this stage a year ago but were beaten 3-0 at home by Dundee United in a televised fifth round tie.
The Dumfries-based outfit currently sit eighth in League One, two points above the relegation play-off place but have won their last two league games.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle are hoping to claim the first major silverware of their 21-year history at Falkirk’s expense in the 2015 Scottish Cup Final on Saturday (KO 3pm).
INVERNESS Caledonian Thistle are hoping to claim the first major silverware of their 21-year history at Falkirk’s expense in the 2015 Scottish Cup Final on Saturday (KO 3pm).
The Highlanders will be the favourites to clinch the trophy at Hampden Park after ending Celtic’s treble hopes with a thrilling extra-time win in last month’s semi-final.
John Hughes’s team have enjoyed a hugely successful campaign in which they secured their highest-ever league position and European football for the first time having finished third in the Premiership – 10 points behind second-placed Aberdeen.
Hughes has worked miracles since arriving at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium 18 months ago and was deservedly acknowledged for his efforts this year by winning the PFA Scotland and Scottish Football Writers’ Manager of the Year awards.
Meanwhile, midfielder Ryan Christie scooped the Young Player of the Year prizes after an impressive debut campaign for the 20-year-old who was attracted widespread interest including Premier League teams in England.
Now in their first-ever Scottish Cup Final appearance, they will be desperate to overcome their Championship opponents to make this special season even more memorable.
They finished fifth in the second-tier – seven points adrift of the play-offs – and have not played since the regular season ended on May 2.
Since then, Houston has used the time to study the strengths and weaknesses of Caley Thistle but is not worried about a lack of match sharpness the squad may have from not playing competitively for four weeks.
It will be an occasion that will be particularly special for local boy Nick Ross, who was born in Inverness and has played for his hometown club for his entire career thus far.
“I’ve dreamt of this all my life, but you can’t let it get in your head,” said the 23-year-old midfielder. “I think everyone in primary school is dreaming of this when they are playing in the playground – to be playing in the Cup final, to score and to lift the trophy.”
“We know it’s not going to be easy and will be a tough test. But, after the semi-final, we got a lot of confidence and we are confident we can do it.”
Caley Thistle were backed by around 15,000 supporters from the Highlands last month as they came from behind to stun Ronny Deila’s Celtic, who have won the two other major domestic honours available in the Premiership title and League Cup.
And Hughes is hoping another mass turnout at Hampden could help boost attendances for regular league games, which have averaged at 3,700 this season.
“The only way to play your part is to do what we’re doing and get into Europe and cup finals,” he told BBC Scotland.
“I’m quite sure we’ll take 15,000-20,000 down to the cup final and hopefully we’ll give them a good day.
“This year, getting for the first time in the club’s history that Europa League spot through the league placing. That’s your bread and butter. That tells you how good a team you are throughout the season.
“Then the Scottish Cup final. If we can go and win it, it would be remarkable.”
Like Falkirk, Hughes has had to work under a shoestring budget at Caley Thistle, who have been in the Premiership for six seasons, but he has stamped his authority by imposing an attractive blueprint on a settled team of talented individuals.
Despite their defensive solidity, the main concern has been goals with their top scorer this season – Irish striker Billy McKay with 10 league strikes – having left in January to join Wigan.
They are hoping to emulate the feat of St Johnstone, who also claimed the first silverware in their 130-year existence in last season’s Scottish Cup Final with their 2-0 victory over Tayside rivals Dundee United at Celtic Park.
But Falkirk have a habit of performing on the big stage which belies the status of a second-tier club they have held since their relegation from the SPL in 2010.
The Bairns have won four of the last five meetings with Inverness but the two sides have not crossed paths since a top-flight encounter in May 2009 when Falkirk won in the Highlands to secure their survival and simultaneously relegate Caley Thistle.
St Johnstone are particularly interested spectators of the final at Hampden. A win for Inverness would see the Perth side, who finished fourth in the Premiership, earn a place in the Europa League qualifiers next season while Falkirk will take that spot should they lift the silverware.
ROUTE TO THE FINAL:
Round Four 1-0 win v Cowdenbeath (H) Fifth Round 2-1 win v Brechin City (H) Quarter-Final 1-0 win v Queen of the South (A) Semi-Final 1-0 win v Hibernian (N)
Round Four 1-1 draw v St Mirren (A)
Round Four Replay 4-0 win v St Mirren (H)
Round Five 2-1 win v Partick Thistle (A)
Quarter-Final 1-0 win v Raith Rovers (H)
Semi-Final 3-2 win v Celtic (N) * After Extra Time
LAST 10 SCOTTISH CUP FINALS:
2014 St Johnstone 2-0 Dundee United 2013 Celtic 3-0 Hibernian 2012Hearts 5-1 Hibernian 2011 Celtic 3-0 Motherwell 2010 Dundee United 3-0 Ross County 2009 Rangers 1-0 Falkirk 2008 Queen of the South 2-3 Rangers 2007 Celtic 1-0 Dunfermline 2006 Hearts 1-1 Gretna AET (Hearts won 4-2 on penalties) 2005 Celtic 1-0 Dundee United
Inverness boss Hughes made six changes to the starting line-up that ended their league campaign with a 5-0 hammering at champions Celtic last Sunday – which halted their three-game winning run – to rest several key first-team players at home.
Lewis Horner and Tarmo Kink were given their first starts while Liam Polworth, Danny Devine, Nick Ross and Carl Tremarco also received rare outings.
Centre-back Gary Warren is banned after receiving his second booking in the Scottish Cup this season in the semi-final win over Celtic.
However, fellow defender Josh Meekings was cleared to play after the ramifications of the incident against the Hoops which should have seen him sent off for deliberate handball.
Midfielder Nick Ross will be desperate to be in the starting line-up for his hometown club and could make his final outing with his contract due to expire after this game.
Falkirk welcome back top scorer Rory Loy – who has not featured since March 6 because of an ankle injury – but the 27-year-old could have to be content with a place on the bench.
Fellow striker John Baird – who has scored seven goals since joining in February following his release by Queen of the South – and midfielder Mark Kerr are both cup-tied.
Houston, though, could name a similar side to the one which beat Hibernian in the semi-finals with defender Will Vaulks again occupying a defensive midfield position.
Referee: Willie Collum Assistant Referees: Douglas Ross and Alastair Mather Fourth Official: Crawford Allan Additional Assistant Referees: Andrew Dallas and Don Robertson
It will be a second Scottish Cup Final in the middle for Religious Education teacher Collum after handling the 2013 showpiece between Hibernian and Celtic.
The 36-year-old Fifa whistler – who was appointed to a Champions League quarter-final in April – will be at the helm for his 48th match of the season in all competitions.
The Glasgow-born referee has been a Category One official since 2006 and also took charge of the 2012 Scottish League Cup Final when Celtic lost 1-0 to Kilmarnock.
A look ahead to this weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-finals at Hampden Park as Championship rivals Hibernian and Falkirk lock horns on Saturday while Celtic face fellow Premiership side Inverness on Sunday
HIBERNIAN are seeking to book a place in the Scottish Cup Final for the third time in four years when facing Championship rivals Falkirk in the first of the semi-finals on Saturday.
Two-time winners Hibs – who were runners-up in both 2012 and 2013 following heavy defeats to Hearts and Celtic – are still looking to win the competition for the first time since 1902.
Falkirk have also lifted the trophy twice – the last being back in 1957 – although they lost 1-0 to Rangers in the 2009 Final.
Houston’s preparation has been meticulous – naming his team on Thursday and booking the same hotel that Dundee United stayed in before their 3-0 win over Ross County in the Scottish Cup Final five years ago.
Following the collapse two years ago, Falkirk – who also reached the 2012 League Cup semi-finals – will be desperate for revenge against a Hibs side who have a 113-year itch to scratch as far as this competition is concerned.
Hibernian are unlikely to make wholesale changes from last weekend’s 2-0 win over Hearts.
Falkirk are set to be without 12-goal top scorer Rory Loy who has not played in eight games since bruising a bone in the quarter-final win over Queen of the South.
REFEREE: John Beaton ASSISTANT REFEREES: Stuart Stevenson and Alasdair Ross FOURTH OFFICIAL: Crawford Allan
INVERNESS CALEY THISTLE v CELTIC
CELTIC will be looking to reach their second cup final of the season when up against fellow Scottish Premiership side Inverness Caley Thistle.
Ronny Deila’s Hoops – who are chasing a first domestic treble since 2001 – lifted the League Cup last month after beating 10-man Dundee United 2-0 in the final.
The Highlanders, meanwhile, are seeking to book the first Scottish Cup Final appearance of their 21-year history a year after their first ever major final in the League Cup which ended in a penalty shoot-out loss to Aberdeen at Celtic Park.
The sides met as recently as last weekend in a 1-1 draw in the Highlands which saw two goals in the first four minutes with Leigh Griffiths’ opener for the visitors immediately cancelled out by Caley Thistle striker Edward Ofore.
The Bhoys – who are eight points clear at the top-flight summit with five games left – are 21 points and two places above Inverness in the table.
But after last Saturday’s result, Caley Thistle have taken four points from a possible nine in the league against Celtic following a 1-0 home win back in August despite their 1-0 reverse at Parkhead in November.
The two teams will also lock horns again a week before the Scottish Cup Final on the last day of the Premiership campaign in Glasgow when Celtic – on the verge of being crowned champions for the fourth successive season – are widely expected to receive the trophy.
The Hoops have won all but two of their 19 league and cup games in the calendar year – including four of their last five Premiership matches – although they have conceded in each of the last two having kept five clean sheets in a row before that.
Celtic needed a replay to reach the semi-final stage for the fifth time in the last six seasons – thumping nine-man Dundee United 4-0 after a controversial quarter-final tie at Tannadice which brought three red cards and two penalties.
The 36-time Scottish Cup winners have only secured the trophy twice in the past seven seasons with the last coming under Neil Lennon in 2012-13 following a 3-0 success over Hibernian at Hampden.
Inverness, however, have not visited the national stadium since the 2003 Scottish Cup semis when they lost out to Dundee.
Since edging past Raith Rovers in the quarter-finals, Hughes’s side have won just one of their four league encounters and recorded just one victory in the last eight in all competitions.
But with the guarantee of facing Championship opposition in the May 30 final, there is a huge incentive for both sides with Inverness looking for a maiden honour and Celtic on track for a clean sweep.
Celtic boss Ronny Deila is likely to revert back to the team which drew with Inverness last Sunday after making changes for the 4-1 win over Killie in midweek.
In-form Leigh Griffiths – who has five goals in his last six games and nine in total this season – is expected to lead the line with Stefan Johansen in the attacking number 10 role.
Deila has a tough choice to make at right-back with either Efe Ambrose or Adam Matthews set to get the nod.
Inverness could name the same team which faced Celtic last Saturday which would mean on-loan Middlesbrough forward Tarmo Kink and midfielder Aaron Doran remain on the bench.
REFEREE: Steven McLean ASSISTANT REFEREES: Alan Mulvanny and Frank Connor FOURTH OFFICIAL: Calum Murray