BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Scotland’s sole representative at Euro 2016, referee Willie Collum, has been handed his first assignment of the tournament after being named as fourth official for Sunday’s clash between Turkey and Croatia.
Collum was one of 18 referees selected for the tournament, with compatriots Bobby Madden, John Beaton, Francis Connor and Irishman Damien Macgraith completing his team.
However, his first action in the tournament will be to act as fourth official for Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson at the Parc des Princes this weekend.
Collum enters the tournament on the back of a patchy domestic campaign, which included high-profile criticism from bosses including Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson and Aberdeen gaffer Derek McInnes.
Speaking following his selection for the showpiece in France, Collum told Sky Sports: “It’s the highlight of my refereeing career without a doubt.
“In refereeing terms it’s as close as can be to representing your country at football. So a Scotland player representing his country at a major tournament, it’s the same for me as a referee to represent my country at a major tournament.
“It’s like a Christmas present to me. So I’ll be looking forward to whatever match I’m appointed to, whether it be as a referee or a fourth official.”
Despite being much-maligned in Scotland, Collum remains one of Uefa’s top officials and became the first Scottish referee since Hugh Dallas to take charge of the European Super Cup final when he oversaw Barcelona’s win over Sevilla in 2015.
He is also a regular in the Champions League, and was involved in encounters involving the likes of PSG, Galatasaray and Benfica last term.