BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
A REFEREE who was the victim of vile death threats will take charge of Scotland’s crunch World Cup qualifier against England.
Turkish whistler Cuneyt Cakir was subjected to online abuse from trolls in 2013 after dishing out a red card to Manchester United winger Nani during a dramatic Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid.
The decision prompted a rousing comeback from the Spanish giants, who came from 2-1 down to secure a 3-2 aggregate win in the space of 30 minutes barnstorming minutes at Old Trafford.
The appointment of the 40-year-old underlines the stature of Friday night’s fixture at Wembley, with Cakir currently considered one of the top officials in world football.
He took charge of the Champions League final between Barcelona and Juventus in 2015, was the man in the middle for the World Cup semi-final between Argentina and Holland two years ago and oversaw three fixtures at Euro 2016.
Gordon Strachan be desperate for a change of fortune, with Cakir yet to preside over a Scottish victory – for club or country – in three attempts.
An accountant by trade, he took charge of Motherwell’s 3-0 Europa League defeat against Steaua Bucharest in 2009, Celtic’s 3-0 home defeat against AC Milan in 2013 and Scotland’s forgettable 0-0 draw with Lithuania in Vilnius six years ago.