Kevin Clancy will referee Rangers’ Premiership clash with Aberdeen at Pittodrie and Nick Walsh will handle Celtic’s flag-day meeting with newly-promoted Livingston at Celtic Park.
The match official appointments for the opening weekend of the 2018/19 Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) season have been revealed.
Last season’s Scottish Cup final referee Kevin Clancy will take charge of Sunday’s televised Premiership clash between Aberdeen and Rangers as new Gers boss Steven Gerrard oversees his first league game, at Pittodrie in front of the Sky Sports cameras (kick-off 13:00 BST).
Nick Walsh will be in the middle for champions Celtic’s encounter with newly-promoted Livingston on Saturday at Celtic Park, where the title-winning flag will be unfurled before the 15:00 BST kick-off.
Elsewhere, fellow newly-promoted side St Mirren’s home match against Dundee will be officiated by Alan Muir.
John Beaton will referee Kilmarnock against St Johnstone at Rugby Park and Andrew Dallas has been appointed to Hearts’ trip to Hamilton Academical.
Meanwhile, Fifa officials Craig Thomson, Willie Collum and Steven McLean have been handed Championship games on the first weekend.
Thomson will take charge as Ayr, who were promoted to the second tier as League One champions last term, welcome relegated Partick Thistle to Somerset Park.
Collum will be in the middle at Tannadice when Dundee United kick off their second season in the second tier at home to Dunfermline Athletic, with McLean on duty at the Falkirk Stadium for Falkirk’s clash with Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
Here are the full list of appointments as the 2018/19 campaign gets under way…
SATURDAY 4 AUGUST 2018
Celtic v Livingston
3pm kick-off at Celtic Park
Referee: Nick Walsh
Assistants: Dougie Potter and Andy Milne
Fourth official: David Munro
Hamilton Academical v Hearts
3pm kick-off at New Douglas Park
Referee: Andrew Dallas
Assistants: Stuart Stevenson and Daniel McFarlane
Fourth official: John McKendrick
Hibernian v Motherwell
3pm kick-off at Easter Road
Referee: Bobby Madden
Assistants: Jordan Stokoe and David Doig
Fourth official: Gavin Duncan
Kilmarnock v St Johnstone
3pm kick-off at Rugby Park
Referee: John Beaton
Assistants: Alastair Mather and Sean Carr
Fourth official: Euan Anderson
St Mirren v Dundee
3pm kick-off at the Simple Digital Arena
Referee: Alan Muir
Assistants: Paul O’Neill and Michael Banks
Fourth official: Steven Kirkland
Ayr United v Partick Thistle
3pm kick-off at Somerset Park
Referee: Craig Thomson
Assistants: Calum Spence and Daniel Graves
Dundee United v Dunfermline Athletic
3pm kick-off at Tannadice
Referee: Willie Collum
Assistants: Drew Kirkland and Alan Macfadyen
Falkirk v Inverness Caledonian Thistle
3pm kick-off at The Falkirk Stadium
Referee: Steven McLean
Assistants: Ralph Gordon and Craig Ferguson
Greenock Morton v Queen of the South
3pm kick-off at Cappielow
Referee: Gavin Duncan
Assistants: Andrew McWilliam and Kevin McElhinney
Ross County v Alloa Athletic
3pm kick-off at The Global Energy Stadium
Referee: Mike Roncone
Assistants: Frank Connor and Jonathan Bell
Scottish League One
East Fife v Dumbarton
3pm kick-off at Bayview Stadium
Referee: Grant Irvine
Assistants: Joseph Lawson and George Calder
Forfar Athletic v Airdrieonians
3pm kick-off at Station Park
Referee: Graham Beaton
Assistants: Graham Chambers and Robert Thomson
Montrose v Arbroath
3pm kick-off at Links Park
Referee: Alan Newlands
Assistants: Gordon Crawford and Ryan Oliver
Stenhousemuir v Brechin City
3pm kick-off at Ochilview Park
Referee: Barry Cook
Assistants: David Roome and Mark McHendry
Stranraer v Raith Rovers
3pm kick-off at Stair Park
Referee: David Lowe
Assistants: Gary Hilland and Craig King
SUNDAY 5 AUGUST 2018
Aberdeen v Rangers
1pm kick-off at Pittodrie – live on Sky Sports
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Assistants: David McGeachie and Graeme Stewart
Fourth official: Don Robertson
Why Andrew Dallas has the potential, in time, to be Scottish football’s leading referee – just like his father more than a decade ago.
As far as the limelight in Scottish football is concerned, referee Andrew Dallas isn’t normally too far away from the headlines – for one reason or another.
He has been the subject of ridicule and constant criticism since taking up the whistle in 2012/13, particularly when stepping up to the unforgiving environment of the Scottish Premiership at the start of the 2014/15 season.
It would be fair to say it has sometimes been warranted but too often it has gone too far, although not quite to the level experienced by his colleague Willie Collum, who received death threats after awarding a controversial penalty in an Old Firm match in 2010.
Dallas has often been too brash and almost tried too hard to get himself noticed but has come a long way since being branded ‘devious and manipulative’ by Kenny Shiels in 2013 and ‘not ready’ to officiate in the top flight by John Hughes in 2015.
Mistakes are part and parcel of the game and a referee’s development. Like any official, he has had his fair share.
Dallas wrongly booked Hearts midfielder Malaury Martin, thinking he had tripped Motherwell’s Louis Moult, when in fact the striker had fallen over his own team-mate Lionel Ainsworth in a Premiership clash at Tynecastle in February 2017. In fairness, he later rang then Hearts boss Ian Cathro to apologise for the error.
Back in August, Partick Thistle boss Alan Archibald was left in doubt that Dallas should have awarded a last-minute penalty for his side, who were trailing 1-0 to Celtic in the Glasgow derby at Firhill when Nir Bitton appeared to impede Miles Storey in the box.
More recently, he gave St Johnstone midfielder David Wotherspoon his marching orders for a second bookable offence in their 1-0 defeat at Hearts – a decision which was branded ‘ridiculous’ by Saints boss Tommy Wright, who appears to have his own vendetta against Dallas.
“Same old, same old with that same referee,” Wright told BBC Scotland after the game. “I have been [disappointed] most of the times I’ve had him. I have probably spoken to [SFA Head of Referee Operations] John Fleming more about Andrew Dallas than any referee. Nothing seems to change.”
He has been under-fire and naturally took time to adapt to the rigours of the rough and tumble of Premiership football but has come on leaps and downs, in the last 12 months alone.
Earlier this month, Dallas was slammed on social media for disallowing an early goal for Motherwell in their Scottish Cup quarter-final win over Hearts but, by the letter of the law, which the referees know inside out, he was spot on as Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin had the ball within his grasp – even if it was just with one hand.
He was also right to award Hearts a penalty after Cedric Kipre wiped out Steven Naismith and ignore appeals for a second spotkick for Craig Levein’s side late on for handball after the ball struck Andy Rose, but it wasn’t intentional. Getting the big calls right is the main thing that should be expected of a referee and he did that in the important tie at Fir Park.
Although it’s the least glamorous trophy of them all, it was still a big occasion for the two Championship clubs that he knew well, at a ground he has become accustomed to refereeing at in St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park.
He put in a solid display overall and stayed under the radar – issuing five yellow cards and correctly awarding Inverness a late penalty for handball by Dumbarton left-back Chris McLaughlin, which Iain Vigurs had saved by Sons stopper Scott Gallacher before Carl Tremarco spared his team-mate’s blushes with a last-gasp winner.
Being awarded the final of the competition which is primarily for Championship, League One and League Two clubs in Scotland acted as a springboard in the successful careers of fellow officials Craig Thomson and Calum Murray, to name but two.
Despite some boos ringing around the ground as he stepped up to collect his medal after the game, Dallas could be happy of his performance and undoubtedly his father Hugh would have been proud of his display as he watched on from the stands.
Dallas has the shadow of his dad – the last Scotsman to go to a World Cup who spent 15 years officiating in Scotland before hanging up his whistle in 2005 – to contend with and there are always going to be comparisons drawn between them.
But he has spoken in the past about how his old man has been “invaluable” to him and he was the one who suggested that he took up the whistle in the first place. Claims that he has progressed as far as he has to date because of his father’s stature are also unfair, because he has reached the highest level on merit through his own hard work and determination.
Dallas has already demonstrated his capabilities and didn’t get fast-tracked on to the Fifa list in January 2015 for no reason.
2017/18 really has been a breakthrough campaign for the promising official, who has handled matches in the Europa League, a 2018 World Cup qualifier, a Champions League qualifier and numerous European youth games.
Closer to home, he’s been trusted with some key top-flight matches – including an Edinburgh derby debut in October, Rangers’ 3-0 win over Aberdeen at Ibrox in November and Hibernian’s 2-0 victory over the Dons in another significant contest in the battle to finish the best of the rest behind Celtic.
It is evident that the Scottish Football Association are fully behind Dallas, who is not afraid to give big decisions and generally stays calm under intense pressure – even on the big stage.
With Collum and Thomson out in front as Scotland’s leading officials, Dallas has some way to go to join the elite but the signs are there that he can at least be third in line for high-profile games on the domestic front and even go on to follow the footsteps of the pair – and his father before them – on the European and international scene.
He has already reaped the benefits of working closely with Collum, who he has regularly trained with, and being coached by fellow Fifa whistler Steven McLean.
“They’ve been fantastic in offering advice and encouragement and they’re always available for a chat about decisions and incidents from matches,” Dallas once said in an interview.
He got a bird’s eye view of Collum’s excellent display in Celtic’s 3-2 win over Rangers at Ibrox as the fourth official – a selective appointment made with careful consideration.
Selecting him to carry out electronic board duties undoubtedly had the near future in mind and suggests an Old Firm derby debut in the middle isn’t too far away, particularly as he’s the last of the seven Fifa referees to get a first taste of one of world football’s fiercest rivalries.
It could happen as early as next month in the Scottish Cup semi-final showdown at Hampden Park but it’s more likely to be a more experienced official in charge given the magnitude of the occasion.
Last May, former top-flight referee Charlie Richmond expressed his belief that Dallas is under more pressure to perform than some of his colleagues because of his father and still had plenty to prove.
This season has been one of real progress for Dallas, who has learned a lot and proven he’s not just a rookie and gaffe-prone referee but can handle matches at a high level.
He still has hurdles to climb over but, with age on his side and advice readily on hand in the form of his old man, he has the potential to be the cream of the crop – if fans and pundits alike can cut him some slack and let him develop.
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Kevin Clancy will take charge of Celtic’s trip to Rugby Park in Saturday’s televised lunchtime game, before Willie Collum oversees Rangers against Hibernian at Ibrox.
Kevin Clancy will take charge of Celtic’s lunchtime clash with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday afternoon, the SPFL has confirmed.
The 34-year-old will be in the middle for his first Hoops game of 2018 as the champions and current Scottish Premiership leaders visit Ayrshire for the 12:30pm kick-off, which will be screened live on BT Sport.
Celtic are unbeaten in the 25 previous games that the Fifa whistler has officiated, winning 23 and drawing two – stretching back to his first in February 2013. The only other occasion he’s previously handled a game between the two sides was three years ago in a 2-0 away victory for the Hoops.
It will be the fifth time Clancy will encounter Brendan Rodgers’s side this season in what will be his 28th match of the campaign overall in all competitions. He has so far brandished 107 yellow cards, sent off five players and awarded three penalties.
The Glasgow-born official was also in charge of Celtic’s 4-1 win over Hearts on the opening weekend, October’s 4-2 League Cup semi-final win over Hibernian, the 5-1 thrashing of Motherwell in December and, most recently, their 2-0 success at Dundee on Boxing Day.
Elsewhere, Willie Collum will oversee Rangers’ meeting with Hibernian at Ibrox, as second takes on fourth in the top flight.
It will be the sixth time already this season that Collum will oversee a match involving the Gers, but the first since their surprise 2-1 reverse at Kilmarnock on December 23.
He will also be at the helm for his 30th game of the campaign in all competitions and, not for the first time in his career, has come under fire in recent weeks amid some controversial decisions.
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.