Willie Collum named as referee for Scottish Cup Final, while Rangers and Celtic receive boost as UEFA revamp European competitions

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Willie Collum has been named as the referee in charge of the Scottish Cup Final between Rangers and Hearts later this month.

The vastly experienced match official has been selected as the man in the middle for the Hampden showpiece on May 21 - his fourth time at the centre of Scottish football’s flagship encounter.

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The 43-year-old will be assisted by Daniel McFarlane and Dougie Potter, with Nick Walsh confirmed as the fourth official.

Referee Willie Collum will be in charge of the Scottish Cup final. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

Collum previously officiated Celtic’s 3-0 triumph over Hibernian at the national stadium in 2013, Inverness’ historic 2-1 victory over Falkirk in 2015 and the Hoops’ 2-1 win over Hearts in 2019.

Meanwhile, Celtic and Rangers have been handed a minor boost to their European prospects after UEFA announced plans to expand the Champions League.

European football’s governing body are set to increase the size of the competition from 32 teams to 36 from 2024 onwards.

The biggest change will see a transformation from the traditional group stage to a single league phase including all participating teams.

This will mean every club will now be guaranteed a minimum of eight league stage games against eight different opponents (four home games, four away) rather than the previous six matches against three teams.

The top eight sides will then qualify automaitcally for the knockout stage, while the team finishing in ninth to 24th place will compete in a play-off over two legs to secure their path to the last 16 phase.

The revised format will also apply to the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League.

Champions League will have 36 teams participating in 2024/25

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said: “We are convinced that the formart chosen strikes the right balance.

“And that it will improve the competitive balance and generate solid revenues that can be distributed to clubs, leagues, and into grassroots football across our continent while increasing the appeal and popularity of our club competitions.

“I am really pleased that it was a unanimous decision of the UEFA Executvie Committee, with the European Club Association, European Leagues and National Associations all agreeing with the proposal made. Another proof that European football is more united than ever.

“Qualification will thus remain purely based on sporting performance and the dream to participate will remain for all clubs.”

The new format ends any hopes of a well-documented European Super League, according to Ceferin.

12 of Europe’s biggest club had previously signed up for the proposed competition last April but the project collapsed within a matter of days following a huge backlash from supporters and various football governing bodies.