GLF 67: Top Ten Ted recalls some of the great 'Phil moments'.
Top Ten Ted Presents ………
Great Phil O'Donnell Moments of my Time !!!!!!!!!!
10.Celtic v Motherwell Mid-1990's
Not too long after Phil had made the short transfer to Celtic Park in exchange for a cool £1.75M,Motherwell visited a partially rebuilt "Paradise".Sitting in a temporary "East" Stand, the 'Well fans were going through the usual songbook,including giving it a rousing chorus of "Who the f*** is Phil O'Donnell " when the ex-Fir Parker let rip from twenty yards or so, his crashing drive putting the Beggars one up and instantly silencing the travelling fans before they'd even reached his name in the song.A classic moment that only a football fan could enjoy.
9.Scotland v Switzerland 8th Sept 1993
Phil's international career sadly only lasted 15 minutes, but at least it began and ended whilst he was still a Motherwell player!We all feel a sense of pride when a Dosser runs out in the dark blue of Scotland and that was the case when Phil came on for Davie Bowman in a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie in a World Cup Qualifier.Although the nation was to fail in its attempt to get to USA '94, we all assumed we'd witnessed the start of a long and successful International career.How wrong we were.
8.Motherwell v St. Mirren 24th Nov 1990
Phil's debut was on a dull, dank, typically November Motherwell day against the Paisley cracks, St. Mirren.The young left-back was, to be honest, rag-dolled by "auld baldy heid" Kenny McDowall.Phillip however displayed the traits that became familiar with the Fir Park Faithful.A love of playing football, a great desire to stick to his task and a unbelievable "engine" which saw him cover every blade of grass on Fir Park for the first, and most certainly not the last time.Just under 5,000 saw Jamie Dolan rescue a point for Motherwell in an uninspiring clash.
7.Motherwell v Dundee United 29th Dec 2007
To be honest, I'd agonised over selecting this game for fear of folk taking it the wrong way.But I've two major recollections of that awful day.First half, O'Donnell lost possession on United's 18-yard line, before sprinting at full pelt back trying to retrieve the situation,which was mopped up by Mark Reynolds on the Motherwell 18-yard line.I actually turned to my boys and said"look at that run, that's Phil O'Donnell back to his fittest and best".I was so proud that I could show my kids exactly how good this guy had been.My second memory is the silence which engulfed Fir Park an hour later that day within seconds of Uncle Phil going down. Enough said.
6.Motherwell v Dundee United 3rd Jan 2004
Phil's second debut was not only a red letter day for the fans that remembered him from the first time but a massive occasion for the young fans who saw a true Motherwell hero return home.It was only a cameo for Phil, the last five minutes or so, but a moment I'll never forget.Of course to mark his substitute appearance, nephew David Clarkson notched a fine hat-trick to ensure that the match ball remained safely within reach of the O'Donnell family.
5.Celtic v Motherwell 9th April 1991
A Semi-Final victory in the Scottish Cup is a great way to endear yourself to a Clubs' fans.Make it at Hampden Park, in a replay, and against one of the Old Firm, and you've got a recipe for legendary status.Not only did Phil contribute to this magnificent night but he set up the clinching fourth goal for Stevie Kirk in injury time.That was the moment that we truly knew we were going to the Scottish Cup Final for the first time in thirty nine years.His usual never say die attitude saw him rob Polish internationalist Darius Dowyczek (no danger that's the right spelling !!!) and lay the ball back to Kid Kirk to do the necessary. Wonderful
4.Motherwell v Hearts 28th Aug 2004
Has there ever been a better volley executed in front of the Cooper Stand ?I really, really don't think so.67 minutes in and Motherwell were one up to a Kevin McBride penalty, when McBride sent in an in swinging corner which arrived, waist height at O'Donnell who let fly into the top left hand corner.The Motherwell fans in the 7,000 crowd celebrated long and hard the clinching goal, as the smile that flashed across Uncle Phil's faced lit up Fir Park.Atruly priceless moment.
3.Rangers v Motherwell 15th Feb 1992
Not many times in my lifetime have I visited Ibrox Stadium with my team trying to retain the Scottish Cup.Well, obviously this was a one off, very much in keeping with the Motherwell display that day.The 'Well fans filled the lower Broomloan Stand as the team put on an energetic show that had us Dossers marvelling at our heroes in Claret and Amber.Time and again in a vintage first half, Rangers were ripped apart by Phil O'Donnell's industry and finesse. Had Stevie Kirk remembered to put on his shooting boots the Steelmen would've been home, hosed and in the Quarter-Finals by half-time.As it was, a fine O'Donnell strike from twenty yards was our scant reward for a great first half performance.Sadly the "Forces of Darkness" scored twice in five minutes in the second half to finally end our hold on the famous old trophy.
2.Motherwell v Celtic 11th Jan 1994
We had the mighty Celtic rolling up to Fir Park twice in little over a fortnight in early 1994.First up was a midweek league game, with a massive Scottish Cup 3rd round fixture shortly after.True to form, and forever the pessimist, I was forecasting maybe a wee result in one of the games but no chance we could do the Gronkies twice in such a short period of time. O ye of little faith!!! I hadn't reckoned on a scintillating display by two-goal Phil O'Donnell, including an unbelievable volley (yes folks, even better than the one I've previously described against the Jambos !!!) helping secure a 2-1 win for the Steelmen and yet another man of the match award.This was "Oor" Uncle at his complete best in a Motherwell shirt.A few short weeks later and another 'Well legend Tommy Coyne (M'lud) back-headered a goal past Carl Muggleton (snigger, snigger) to send Glasgow's Eastenders well and truly out the Scottish Cup.And who was the first guy to celebrate with TC ……… yep, Phillip O'Donnell.
1.Dundee United v Motherwell 18th May 1991
I don't really know what more can be said about this occasion without sounding corny, but seriously this was simply the best day of my footballing life.Every Motherwell goal was a classic (as you would expect !!), but the match itself was played with great pace in an attacking sense by both teams, which to be fair was a tad unusual for a Tommy McLean side !!!In the Motherwell side that day the engine room was run by young O'Donnell, who at 18-years-old sensed that something special was about to happen.Us 'Well fans will never forget Phil's first goal for our Club and in many, many ways it typified his displays in Claret and Amber over the years.A fitness to be where he wanted to be on a pitch, a desire to do what he had to do for his team and a love of playing football and entertaining us in the Terracing/Stands.In fact we just know that if he hadn't been blessed with a talent we could only dream about, he would've been on a terracing somewhere cheering on his team.How sad is it that we've now lost the youngest and oldest from our finest day in living memory ?
Phillip O'Donnell 235 (16) Apps, 27 Goals
You know, it's not until you sit down and try and collate the highlights of Phil's Motherwell career do you realise just how big an impact he made on us all.I still find it incredibly unreal to be talking about him in a past tense,and still thinking about that horrible, horrible Saturday night is well …… you know,it's still raw.
As I said before, Phil made his debut at seventeen on Fir Park, and the circle of life brought him back to the same venue for his final appearance, complete with the Captain's armband on.You don't just get that armband, you achieve it.And he did.Players and fans looked up to Phil, and even the eldest among us still referred to him as Uncle,and not just any Captain gets that kinda respect.It wasn't just the fact that Phil O'Donnell was as brave as a lion.He was a big man, he was a respected man, he was a gentleman, he was a family man.He was a Motherwell man, our Captain and our Uncle, and will remain so forever.
Visit the GLF archive. Hundreds of articles.