Referee for Saturday’s SPFL opener against Inverness in the Highlands will be the experienced Crawford Allan.
With the season just getting underway, it’s obviously Crawford’s first ‘Well match of the campaign.
However, he is a familiar face to ‘Well fans having been a top flight official for over a decade.
He handled four matches during the 2014/15 season, including two Friday night defeats at Pittodrie, ‘Well losing 2-1 and 1-0 respectively, the instantly forgettable New Years defeat at New Douglas Park and, most recently, the 1-1 draw with Ross County at Fir Park last season.
A vastly experienced, Crawford handled two games the previous seasons (2013/14).
The first was a narrow 1-0 win over Hibs in November 2013 when a Stephen McManus header gave the 10-man Steelmen all three points.
The other, five weeks later, was the important 1-2 victory at Ross County, which kicked off an incredible six game winning run. A brace from John Sutton was enough to edge out the Staggies and got ‘Well back to winning ways after the disappointment of an early Scottish Cup exit and a thumping from Celtic.
Tragically, Allan took charge of the ‘Well game on the 29th December 2007, forever etched in history as the date when Phil O’Donnell tragically passed away in the 5-3 victory over Dundee United.
Speaking publically, Allan admitted Phil’s death had a profound effect on the whistler but won heartfelt praise for the way he handled what was an extremely difficult situation and his sensitive approach will be forever appreciated by everyone at Motherwell Football Club and is recognised each time he returns to Fir Park.
In another twist of fate, Crawford is only one of two referees to have ever taken charge of a Motherwell away game at Fir Park as the Steelmen faced hosts Gretna during the 2007/2008 campaign.
His record in charge of the ‘Well is a fairly mixed, with the Fir Parkers winning eight, drawing seven and losing seven of the twenty two games in total. In those games, 63 players have seen yellow, 38 in Claret and Amber, whilst four have been sent for an early bath, the most recent being Shaun Hutchinson in that match against Hibs two seasons ago.
Allan will be ably assisted by Alastair Mather and Stuart Hodge with Mat Northcroft on fourth official duties. Referee observer is Kevin Toner, SPFL Delegate is David Patience.