Willie Collum will officiate his first Celtic v Rangers derby since 2019 [SFA].

The 42-year-old last refereed the fixture when Celtic triumphed over our rivals in the 2019 Betfred Cup. There was some measure of controversy, with Jeremie Frimpong sent off and Morelos missing the subsequent penalty. Jullien’s winner was correctly adjudged to be onside, despite protests from Rangers.

So far this season, Collum has officiated 19 Premiership matches, dishing out 46 yellow cards and 3 reds. He’s also refereed 15 other matches, in continental club and international competitions.

The SFA are clearly planning to proceed with the Glasgow Derby. Scottish Government ministers, including Humza Yousef, issued a challenge to both clubs in terms of keeping potential crowds in check. Police chiefs, senior politicians and the clubs themselves are set to meet, in order to decide whether the match should go ahead.

Rangers supporters put the match in jeopardy with large-scale celebrations across Glasgow last weekend. 28 fans were arrested [Sky News], as Gers fans flouted lockdown rules en masse.

Willie Collum Celtic
Willie Collum showing Scott Brown a straight red earlier this season / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Willie Collum: not universally popular with Celtic or Rangers supporters

The last time Collum was announced for a Glasgow Derby, there was an air of controversy. Prior to the Betfred Cup Final, Collum had been named in an official statement by Rangers after an “inexplicable” sending off in 2018 [Daily Record].

Celtic have already felt the wrath of Willie Collum. Earlier this season, Scott Brown was given a straight red against Livingston.

The 42-year-old top-licensed ref considered quitting the game entirely in 2020. Collum claimed that the life of a referee is a lonely and stressful one. At times, he and his family have been abused while out shopping, as Collum described last year [Glasgow Times]:

“Not Christmas there, but the Christmas before, I had a day off and went into Glasgow with my wife for some Christmas shopping for the kids.

“Within 10 metres of getting out the car and walking towards a shopping centre, three or four guys had given me the most ridiculous abuse.

“It frightened my wife and she was really upset. That trip ended in five minutes. We were back in the car and up the road.

“When mistakes happen there isn’t much forgiveness in society.”

Given the circumstances, controversy has started well ahead of Collum even blowing the whistle.

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