Scotland boss McLeish close to having Old Firm games postponed

Eck wants Celtic's home match against Falkirk on 10 November, and Rangers' visit to St Mirren a day later, to be rearranged in order for a majority of his players to have a free weekend ahead of Italy's all-important visit on 17 November.

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"We have done the formalities," he said. "There is a procedure to go through and I don't know when a decision will be made. But I spoke to Walter Smith, Gordon Strachan, John Hughes and Gus MacPherson, who were all very supportive. That's the managers, and it doesn't mean their clubs are on board, but I met Martin Bain and David Murray at the weekend and Rangers were right behind us. It doesn't guarantee you anything, but it is brilliant if we can enlist the help of everybody.

"At the end of the day, when it comes to crunch time, 5:00pm on 17 November, it will be down to us. But everybody else is giving us valuable support. If we can prevent injury and get fresh legs, then all the guys will be firing on all cylinders for the big one."

An SPL spokesman said a decision was likely to be reached this week: "We want to make a decision sooner rather than later because the closer you get to a fixture, the more issues arise.

"We have to look at it constructively and take into account not just the Old Firm, but the other clubs as well."

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