Hundreds attend O'Donnell funeral

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Scottish football united yesterday to pay its last respects to Phil O'Donnell at the late Motherwell captain's funeral. O'Donnell, who was 35, died on the pitch from heart failure a week ago today, causing widespread grief in the close-knit community of the Scottish game.

More than 500 mourners attended a service at St Mary's Church in Hamilton, while hundreds more lined the streets outside to pay tribute to the former Scotland, Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday midfielder. Motherwell's youth team formed a guard of honour at the church for the arrival of O'Donnell's widow, Eileen, and their four young children, who each carried a single rose.

Motherwell's manager, Mark McGhee, and O'Donnell's team-mates arrived an hour before the service. The Dundee United squad opponents on the pitch last week also attended, as did the Celtic squad. Motherwell were due to play Celtic tomorrow.

Scores of others connected to either Motherwell, the Scotland team or both, including Craig Brown, the former Scotland manager, and Terry Butcher, who re-signed O'Donnell for Motherwell while manager there, attended. Two of O'Donnell's nephews, both footballers, were among the mourners: David Clarkson, who plays for Motherwell and was on the pitch when his uncle collapsed, and St Mirren's Stephen O'Donnell.

O'Donnell's former Motherwell team-mate Chris McCart, now the club's youth development officer, read a tribute, saying: "Family man, wonderful footballer, inspirational captain, role model, a great human being... these are just a few of the tributes paid to Phil."

Motherwell resume their season next weekend, in the Scottish Cup at Hearts. Aside from Motherwell versus Celtic, the SPL continues this weekend.

Celtic, meanwhile, have signed the Seville defender Andreas Hinkel.