Motherwell captain Phil O'Donnell's death, after collapsing during his side's win over Dundee United, ensured Scottish football ended 2007 in a state of profound shock.
What should have been a triumphant victory for Motherwell, who won 5-3 on this year's final day of Scottish Premier League action, turned to tragedy after O'Donnell fell to the ground as he was about to be substituted by Marc Fitzpatrick towards the end of Saturday's match at Fir Park.
The 35-year-old then received some five minutes of treatment on the field before being carried off on a stretcher and was subsequently taken by ambulance to hospital.
"Unfortunately I can confirm very, very sad news that Phil O'Donnell has lost his life," said Motherwell chairman Bill Dickie.
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee said: "I don't want to say anything more than how devastated everyone at the club is for his wife and his young children. That's what we are all feeling tonight, nothing else matters.
"Obviously from the club's point of view we'll gather round to give his family as much support as they need."
David Clarkson, O'Donnell's nephew, who scored two goals on Saturday had earlier been substituted by McGhee on compassionate grounds after witnessing his uncle's collapse.
Motherwell, third in the table, saw their other goals come from Stephen Hughes, Chris Porter, Ross McCormack. United's goalscorers were David Robertson and Noel Hunt, who scored twice.
Celtic returned to the top of the table with a 3-0 win at home to Gretna - only hours after Glasgow rivals Rangers overtook them by winning 2-1 away to Hibernian.
Australia striker Scott McDonald scored his 17th goal of the season in the first half while Scott Brown and Aiden McGeady scored after the break as Celtic ensured they go into Wednesday's Old Firm match two points ahead of their Glasgow rivals.
Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, unaware of events at Fir Park, was happy with the result but not the performance.
Strachan said: "The three points are the most important thing but I didn't enjoy it.
"Gretna worked hard and played terrifically in both games against us but have got nothing and they can feel aggrieved at that.
Earlier in the day Rangers, who have two games in hand, had moved to the top of the table after defeating Hibs.
Steven Naismith put the Ibrox side ahead early on and Gabon international striker Daniel Cousin doubled their advantage with his eighth goal of the season, before Hibs' Moroccan midfielder Merouane Zemmama ensured an exciting finish with a late goal.
Rangers manager Walter Smith said: "Easter Road is a difficult place to win and Hibs have already beaten us at Ibrox so we knew it would be a hard game and it's a good, hard fought victory."
At Celtic Park, with the home crowd increasingly edgy, the Hoops opened the scoring in the 35th minute.
Republic of Ireland international McGeady sent McDonald in on goal and the striker showed top class composure to side foot the ball home via the inside of the post.
In the 49th minute Celtic doubled their lead when Brown drove towards the penalty area, played a neat one-two with Italian teammate Massimo Donati and smashed a low left-foot shot into the corner of the net from 20-yards.
And in the 88th minute McGeady cut in from the left and smashed in a shot which deflected off Gretna defender McGuffie to wrong foot goalkeeper Tony Caig to make it 3-0.
Falkirk came from behind to win 2-1 at home to Hearts thanks to second half goals from Carl Finnigan and Michael Higdon after Spanish playmaker Ruben Palazuelos had opened the scoring in the first half.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle won 3-1 at home to Kilmarnock. Romanian Marius Niculae scored one in each half for Caley with Don Cowie getting the second, while Colin Nish scored a late penalty for Killie.
And Stevie Lovell scored the only goal of the match as Aberdeen won 1-0 at St Mirren.