WILLIE Collum will be backed by Scottish football’s first-ever appointment of additional assistants when he takes charge of his first Scottish Cup final later this month.
The whistler is used to heading up a six-strong team of officials, having used the system in matches in the Champions League and, most recently, in the Europa League, where he was the man in the middle for the quarter-final between Fenerbahce and Lazio that took place last month.
And, following the widespread use of extra officials behind the goals in a number of leagues around Europe, as well as in European competition, the SFA have indicated the additional assistants will also be used at the semi-final stage of next season’s Scottish Cup.
With Collum having taken charge of last season’s Scottish Communities League Cup final, his appointment for the 26 May showcase may not be welcomed by Celtic, after their 1-0 defeat by Kilmarnock in that match.
The introduction of extra officials has also come 12 months too late for the Glasgow club’s opponents, Hibs,.
Television pictures indicated that Craig Thomson should not have awarded a penalty to Hearts in last season’s Scottish Cup final when Pa Kujabi’s foul on Suso Santana took place outside the box. However, John Fleming, the SFA’s head of referee operations, believes the move is one that should be welcomed and he has backed Collum to avoid any such controversy later this month.
He said: “Firstly, I would like to congratulate William and his team on their appointment to this season’s William Hill Scottish Cup final.
“William has performed exceptionally well over a number of seasons, both domestically and internationally, and his appointment to this season’s final is well deserved.
“The laws of the game have been amended to allow the use of additional assistant referees, acknowledging the support they can provide in assisting with the control and management of match situations for the benefit of the teams and the spectators.
“The use of additional assistant referees has been successfully operated in a number of high-profile European competitions in recent years and is also in use in several domestic leagues across Europe.
“I believe this is a good opportunity to introduce the system to Scottish football, starting at this season’s Scottish Cup final and, from next season onwards, also making use of the officials at the semi-final stage.
“William and his team have a lot of experience of the system, having officiated at numerous high-profile matches in Europe, and I am confident the team will perform to the highest level at this season’s final and contribute positively to the match.
“I wish the team every success in what will be an exciting and entertaining match.”
Collum’s team will be completed by linesmen Willie Conquer and Martin Cryans, fourth official Alan Mulvanny and additional assistants John Beaton and Bobby Madden.