Scotland boss McLeish granted Old Firm postponement

Scotland boss Alex McLeish has had his wish granted with both Old Firm games postponed on the weekend prior to the must-win clash against Italy at Hampden Park on 17 November.

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The Scottish Premier League took the decision yesterday after a lengthy meeting, but chairman Lex Gold emerged to issue a statement expressing his "considerable disappointment" that the Scottish Football Association had declined to make a financial contribution to the costs involved in rearranging the games.

He said: "I would like to place on record my thanks to the clubs involved for their constructive approach and to our broadcasting partners, Setanta Sports, for their support.

"It is a matter of considerable disappointment that the SFA has refused to help defray the costs which will be incurred by our clubs."

Gold added: "In exceptional circumstances, the SPL decided today to agree to the request from the SFA to postpone two matches originally scheduled for the weekend of 10 and 11 November - ahead of the Scotland v Italy Euro 2008 qualifier at Hampden.

"Postponing games at short notice is fraught with fairness, inconvenience, broadcasting and cost implications. We recognise, in particular that this decision will inconvenience many fans, thousands of whom have already made travel arrangements to attend the matches.

"Our wish is to do all we can to support the efforts of the Scotland team at a critical point and trust the fans will understand the exceptional circumstances which led us to postpone the matches in question."

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