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 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.
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.
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.
He has so far brandished 71 yellow cards, sent off four players and awarded eight penalties altogether.
The Glasgow-born whistler has largely stayed under the radar this season after being dropped for a period last term and in the spotlight following a number of controversial decisions.
However, Collum was slated by fans on social media after harshly penalising Kilmarnock goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald for a perceived foul on Aberdeen’s James Maddison, which led to the Dons’ opening goal in their 4-0 win at Rugby Park back in October.
Meanwhile, the Lanarkshire-based referee has given penalties in both Hamilton matches he has officiated in the league in 2016-17.
The Religious Education teacher was due to oversee Hamilton’s Betfred Cup tie at Ayr United in the first round in July but had to withdraw through illness and was replaced by Nick Walsh.
Collum normally encounters the Hoops on a monthly basis but has only handled one game involving the champions this season – albeit it was arguably their most memorable one, the 5-1 derby success over 10-man Rangers at Celtic Park in September.
The appointment seemingly rules him out of selection for the upcoming Old Firm derby at Ibrox on New Year’s Eve.
Elsewhere in the Premiership on Saturday, Don Robertson will take charge of Rangers’ final match before Christmas at home to Inverness Caley Thistle – with Kylie McMullan, Joseph Lawson and fourth official Alan Muir completing the team of officials.
Collum has previously overseen two memorable games involving Hamilton and Celtic in recent years.
And, last season, Collum replaced Craig Thomson as the man in charge for Celtic’s thumping 8-1 triumph over Accies at Parkhead and issued no cards.
The sides only met a matter of 10 days ago with Leigh Griffiths’ free-kick giving Celtic a 1-0 success – the 10th of 12 successive league wins the leaders have enjoyed under Brendan Rodgers to give them a 14-point lead at the top of the table.
Martin Canning’s Hamilton, meanwhile, are winless in eight games and sit ninth in the table but are only a point above bottom-club Partick Thistle.
One of his two red cards was shown to Philippe Senderos on his Gers debut for two bookable offences at Celtic Park, with the other in Napoli’s 2-1 victory at Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League group stages.
As was the case for the Old Firm, his assistants at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium will be Fifa-listed duo Frank Connor and Douglas Ross, with Steven Reid on fourth official duties.
He had a couple of tough decisions to make in St Mirren’s 2-1 win at Hibernian in the Irn Bru Cup fourth round last weekend – awarding a dubious free-kick for Saints’ equaliser before overruling an offside flag for David Clarkson’s late winner.
As the Religious Education teacher prepares for his sixth Premiership game of the campaign, he has awarded penalties in his previous two top-flight games – for Motherwell in their 4-2 derby win over Hamilton and, controversially, Aberdeen in their 4-0 victory at Kilmarnock.
Collum was slated by fans on social media after harshly penalising Jamie MacDonald for a perceived foul on James Maddison, which led to the Dons’ opening goal at Rugby Park.
The Lanarkshire official became more lenient last term, with his card count coming down as he enjoyed another busy campaign with 49 matches in total – including the prestigious Uefa Super Cup in Tbilisi.
Collum will make his first trip to Inverness since enduring a difficult night in February in the hosts’ 3-1 win over Aberdeen, who he upset in particular for awarding a controversial penalty against Ash Taylor.
It was one of several high-profile blunders which led to him being dropped from officiating Premiership fixtures for several weeks, but he responded positively at the Euros in France in the summer.
Fifth-placed Rangers, who trail leaders Celtic by seven points, could go joint second before their rivals play on Saturday but eighth-placed Inverness can move level on points with the Gers with a win.
You can see the rest of the SPFL match official appointments for the weekend here.
Controversial Euro 2016 whistler Willie Collum incurred the wrath of Kilmarnock fans after giving Aberdeen a dubious penalty for the opening goal in Saturday’s 4-0 win at Rugby Park.
Notoriously card-happy and not one to shy away from a big decision, Willie Collum is no stranger to controversy.
And Scotland’s Euro 2016 referee found himself in the spotlight again on Saturday after a penalty award which had more than a hint of contention about it.
Kilmarnock were containing Aberdeen well until the 25th minute of their Scottish Premiership encounter at Rugby Park when Killie keeper Jamie MacDonald and Dons playmaker James Maddison came together.
On first viewing, it seemed MacDonald had been fouled by Maddison, losing the ball from his grasp before the slightest of contact sent the on-loan Norwich man to the deck.
Many home supporters expected a free-kick for their side, but were left aghast when Collum pointed to the spot and booked MacDonald to boot.
It allowed Adam Rooney to send the keeper the wrong way from 12 yards and gave the Dons the platform to a comfortable 4-0 victory in Ayrshire, with Rooney scoring later after strikes from defenders Andy Considine and Ash Taylor.
It was a tough decision for Collum to make, with the incident happening at such a fast pace, but he wouldn’t find much sympathy on social media as Scottish football followers roundly condemned the call…
The penalty Aberdeen got at Rugby Park on Saturday (from Willie Collum?) is just laughable. Farcical decision.
Moussa Dembele’s hat-trick helped Celtic thump five past Rangers in the first Old Firm derby in the Scottish Premiership for five seasons to maintain their 100% start to the league campaign.
Dembele nets perfect hat-trick: header, left foot & right foot
First league Old Firm for four and a half years
Rangers suffer first Scottish Premiership defeat of season
Rodgers gets better of Warburton as bosses clash in dugout for first time
MOUSSA Dembele scored a sensational hat-trick as a dominant Celtic swatted 10-man Rangers aside in the Scottish Premiership’s first Old Firm derby for five seasons.
The former Fulham striker, who only started because Leigh Griffiths was ruled out through injury, notched a double in the space of nine first-half minutes with a header and fine finish.
Joe Garner – on his first start for Rangers – gave the visitors hope by nodding home Kenny Miller’s header from close range on the stroke of half-time.
But Dembele set up Scott Sinclair, who netted for the fourth successive league game, before completing his historic treble to seal the deal.
And substitute Stuart Armstrong added gloss in stoppage time for the Hoops, who have now recorded four wins from four at the start of a league season for the first time since 2010.
The 20-year-old’s first career hat-trick was the first in an Old Firm league game since Stevie Chalmers in 1966, as the eagerly-awaited first league meeting of Glasgow’s fierce rivals since April 2012 delivered in every department and gave the Manchester derby a run for its money.
In truth, it was a comfortable afternoon for the champions, who laid down an early marker in their quest for a sixth successive title, as Brendan Rodgers enjoyed a winning Old Firm debut and his side maintained their 100 per cent start to the campaign in some style.
In contrast, it was a rotten first trip to Celtic Park for opposite number Mark Warburton as the Gers lost Rob Kiernan to injury and debutant Philippe Senderos to two daft bookable offences – before assistant manager Davie Weir was ordered to the dressing room.
Rangers began brightly but quickly faded away to become second best by some distance as their unbeaten, yet stuttering, return to Scotland’s top-flight came to a painful end at the home of their city neighbours.
For Celtic, it was the perfect warm-up for the start of their Champions League group stage campaign against Barcelona on Tuesday, with the only worry being Scott Brown’s withdrawal with a minor injury on 74 minutes.
Even though it failed to reach breaking point, the Hoops skipper – in his 23rd Old Firm appearance – enjoyed the hugely-anticipated duel with Joey Barton. And the recently retired Scotland international had the last laugh with another verbal jibe, claiming it was “men against boys”.
Although that was the case by the end, it was much tighter in the typically frantic opening exchanges, when lots of inflatables made their way on to the pitch and added to the carnival atmosphere inside a packed Parkhead.
Tom Rogic, who scored in April’s Scottish Cup semi-final before missing the decisive spotkick, had a couple of early sighters off target as he took up some intelligent positions in behind Rangers’ three-man midfield.
After an even opening, Celtic came on strong and started the unexpected rout on 33 minutes when Dembele rose above Kiernan to meet Sinclair’s corner before leaving Senderos for dead to confidently finish past Wes Foderingham and put the hosts firmly in control.
Rangers appeared to have dragged themselves back in contention before the interval as Garner bundled in Miller’s header from a James Tavernier cross – the club’s first league goal at Celtic Park in four visits.
After Andy Halliday replaced an ineffective Kranjcar for the start of the second half, the Gers briefly threatened to draw level when Barrie McKay curled a shot wide of the far post.
But the champions soon settled into their rhythm once more as Dembele’s defence-splitting pass released Sinclair, who clipped in off the post to continue his impressive start since arriving from Aston Villa.
As Celtic’s Patrick Roberts and Rangers forward Martyn Waghorn made their respective comebacks from hamstring injuries off the bench, Gers keeper Foderingham had to deny Armstrong and Dembele from distance.
Rangers began to unravel and a debut to forget for Senderos was compounded when the experienced former Arsenal defender, booked for a foul on Sinclair earlier, was dismissed by Willie Collum for a deliberate and daft handball.
It got worse when Warburton’s right-hand man Weir also received his marching orders for a foul-mouthed rant at fourth official Kevin Clancy.
Celtic showed no signs of letting up and ruthlessly cashed in on the numerical advantage in the closing stages, as Dembele took down a Mikael Lustig cross and fired home his third. He could be forgiven for the overzealous celebrations which earned him a booking.
3 – Moussa Dembélé is the first French player to score a hat-trick in Scottish Premiership over the last 10 seasons. Trigger.
As Celtic reflected on setting the standard in the first of four expected Old Firm showdowns this term, Rangers were left to lick their wounds and re-evaluate their options whilst scurrying out of the back door in the east end of Glasgow unnoticed.
But the real winner is Scottish football: the Old Firm is well and truly back, and here to stay!
Substitutes: Armstrong (on for Rogic 54′), Roberts (on for Forrest 64′) and McGregor (on for Brown 74′)
Not used: Gordon (GK), Gamboa, Izaguirre, Ciftci.
Booked: Bitton (8′), Toure (49′), Roberts (80′), Dembele (84′)
Referee: Willie Collum (Scotland) – 8/10 Assistant referees: Douglas Ross and Frank Connor (Scotland) Fourth Official: Kevin Clancy (Scotland)
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: “It was a great day for the club and the team. If you think of all the travelling this team has put in over the last couple of weeks, with a lot of players away, to get back in and produce that level of performance with that energy in the team, I thought it was an outstanding team performance.”
Rangers manager Mark Warburton: “It was hugely disappointing. We were just talking in there that the fans were magnificent for us. I thought we were good in the second half. McKay had a good chance and we were in a good shape but we made some poor decisions and gave away cheap goals. As a group in there, we know that.”
Good Lord. What a shellacking. Celtic full value for 5-1. Rangers a touch lucky it wasn't more. Devastating.
Like Celtic, the Motherwell-based whistler is on European duty in midweek having been assigned to referee the Europa League third qualifying round second leg between Hadjuk Split and FC Olexandryia.
He has awarded one penalty in each of his four games so far this season – three of which were in the Betfred Cup, including Rangers’ 3-0 win over Stranraer at Ibrox.
Beaton – who is still a part-time communications officer at the University of Strathclyde – was the referee for Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Leicester in the International Champions Cup at Parkhead a fortnight ago.
Aside from the League Cup tie, he encountered Hearts on four other occasions last season – twice in the Premiership against Partick Thistle and Kilmarnock at Tynecastle, and twice in the Scottish Cup against Aberdeen and Hibernian.
A Category One official since 2009, Beaton has established himself as a regular in the Premiership since his first game in 2012 and is one of seven Scottish referees on Fifa’s international list.
He has officiated the 2015 Ramsdens Cup Final, two League Cup semi-finals, two Scottish Cup semis including one last season, and been an additional assistant referee for two Scottish Cup Finals.
Nick Walsh will take charge of the Premiership opener between Partick Thistle and Inverness Caley Thistle at Firhill on Saturday (KO 15:00 BST).
The 30-year-old from Stirling, who was promoted to Category One over the summer, is only in his fourth season as a senior official.
He will be assisted by Andrew McWilliam and Graham McNellie, while Mat Northcroft will be the fourth official.
Walsh has dished out 13 yellow cards and awarded two penalties in four League Cup games so far – Queen of the South’s 2-0 victory over Airdrieonians, Motherwell’s 3-1 victory at Annan, and Peterhead’s surprise 2-1 win against Dundee.
He was also called up as a late replacement for Willie Collum for Ayr United’s opening 2-1 success over Hamilton Accies.
Kevin Clancy will be the man in the middle for the Championship’s standout opening match between Falkirk and Hibernian on Saturday (KO 15:00 BST).
The 32-year-old has been assigned to the opening weekend game between two expected promotion hopefuls at the Falkirk Stadium as Neil Lennon prepares to take charge of his first league game as Hibs manager.
Clancy – who will be assisted by Alastair Mather and Daniel McFarlane – has received more responsibility in the last 18 months having overseen a number of high-profile games such as Edinburgh and Dundee derbies, and last season’s Scottish League Cup Final.
The Renfrewshire-based whistler has handled a Champions League qualifier, Europa League game and three League Cup matches so far this season.
Glasgow-born Clancy – who has been a Category One official since 2009 – took charge of Hibs’ 1-1 draw with Falkirk at Easter Road last December, among 10 Championship games in 2015-16.
He has also been appointed to referee the televised League Cup second round tie between Premiership sides Celtic and Motherwell at Parkhead on Wednesday night.