Numbed by the news when I got home last night that Motherwell captain Phil O’Donnell had died after collapsing during the game with Dundee Utd yesterday.
I well remember his debut against St.Mirren in the 1990/91 season, when as a 17-year-old he was given the complete runaround by Kenny MacDowell. At the end of that season, he scored his first goal for the club– in the memorable Scottish Cup “family final” at Hampden Park. Ironically, that was also against Dundee Utd, in a game which was also tinged with sadness– the managers of the two teams were brothers Tommy and Jim McLean, whose father died a couple of days before the final.
(That cup winning side seems somewhat jinxed, now… it also featured Davie Cooper, who was to collapse and die a few years later on the training ground at the age of 39. And two of our other stars that day never played again, forced into early retirement through injury.)
So, thanks for the memories, Phil. Thoughts are with your family and friends today, especially to your wife, kids, and nephew and Motherwell team-mate David Clarkson who’s been a revelation this year– I hope he can find it within himself to pull on the claret and amber jersey again after what he witnessed yesterday.