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4:05:17 PM
Old Firm match postponed by SPL
Old Firm match postponed by SPL
Phil O'Donnell in Motherwell colours
O'Donnell played for Celtic between 1994 and 1999
Wednesday's Old Firm match has been postponed as a mark of respect following the death of Motherwell captain Phil O'Donnell.

O'Donnell died after collapsing during Saturday's match against Dundee United.

The Scottish Premier League decided to postpone the game following a request by O'Donnell's former club Celtic.

SPL secretary Iain Blair said: "These are never easy decisions. But we recognise that as a former player, Phil was part of Celtic's extended family."

Blair said Celtic requested for the game to be postponed on Monday morning.

"After consultation with Rangers we agreed to postpone the Old Firm fixture on 2 January," he added.

A date has yet to be set for the game to be played.

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan
It's been hard to take in
Celtic manager
Gordon Strachan

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan said several players at the club had been affected by O'Donnell's death.

"Phil's second club was probably Celtic friends-wise and the reaction, when the news came through the other day, you knew he had a lot of close friends here, that's for sure," he said.

"I don't think I've seen a reaction like that in football. We are all trying to get our heads round the fact he has got four kids and a young wife.

"It's been hard to take in. The whole weekend has become a kind of a numb feeling."

Rangers manager Walter Smith added: "It's a very difficult time for everyone, especially the lad's family.

"Our thoughts across football would go to his family first and foremost.

"I don't think you can think about playing. For those of us that are in the game, the only thing that matters is that we show a proper degree of sympathy to his family."

Motherwell's match against Hibernian and Gretna's game with St Mirren had already been postponed.

Wednesday will be a day of respect in the memory of Phil O'Donnell
SPL executive chairman
Lex Gold

Three SPL games - Aberdeen v Inverness, Dundee Utd v Hearts and Kilmarnock v Falkirk will be played on 2 January.

SPL executive chairman Lex Gold has urged fans at those fixtures to take part in a minute's applause before kick-off.

All players will wear black armbands during those games and Gold said: "Wednesday will be a day of respect in the memory of Phil O'Donnell."

Scottish Football League operations director David Thomson told BBC Scotland there were no plans to call off SFL fixtures on 2 January.

"We've had no requests from any clubs and it's never an easy decision," he said.

Thomson also said that the SFL had requested that all clubs observe either a minute's silence or applause before kick-off.

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Total comments: 1
As I rerunted rerunted home from Celtic Park today in an unhappy frame of mind, it occurred to me that a great irony has been set upon us.As Rangers face the threat of having at best a ten point penalty as a consequence of their efforts to find an unfair advantage over us, we as a club are in no position to take advantage of that windfall.It is a separate and different issue, but Celtic are once again in the doldrums. This is no longer a poor run it is a poor Celtic team. The promise of last season is gone, forgotten. The flame of hope that was Kayal, Ki and Hooper was one by one extinguished today as the Celtic manager Neil Lennon removed them from the action for ineffective displays which have become the norm.Just as the costly failures last season were mainly at home against less financially endowed clubs, the pattern has continued although etched in a deeper vein. Celtic see themselves as the major competitors to Rangers, but today, a very poor Hibs side gave the Celtic defence some real trouble. As Celtic huffed and puffed, creativity was largely absent. They say that football is 90% confidence, and certainly this Celtic side appeared to lack any of that today, but why? Only three days ago, this same Hibs side were demolished by the same Celtic side at Easter Road.The body language in the dugout appeared to be saying all the wrong things as well. Neil Lennon was seldom out of his seat, and on every substitution, there was an absence of the usual handshake or backslap. Allan Thompson let each substituted player walk past him unacknowledged.When Celtic do not live up to the promise the fans expect, perhaps the time has come to ask if the decision to appoint Neil Lennon was a wise one. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but popular as the manager is, few of his greatest fans thought it was a wise move for him to accept what is tantamount to a poison chalice.Let's all laugh at Rangers? Quite.

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