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Last Updated: Monday, 31 December 2007, 18:47 GMT
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.



SEE ALSO
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31 Dec 07 |  Motherwell
Motherwell postpone Celtic match
30 Dec 07 |  Motherwell
Player's father speaks of shock
30 Dec 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Phil O'Donnell: 1972-2007
30 Dec 07 |  Motherwell
In Pictures: O'Donnell tributes
30 Dec 07 |  In Pictures
Tributes flood in for O'Donnell
29 Dec 07 |  Motherwell
Motherwell captain O'Donnell dies
29 Dec 07 |  Motherwell


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