Darren O’Dea has confirmed that his future lies away from Celtic.
The popular defender put in a typically committed performance in yesterday’s 5-0 win over the Airtricity XI in what could be his final appearance in the hoops.
O’Dea looked poised for a glittering future when he played alongside Stephen McManus in the 2007 Champions League ties against AC Milan with the Italians, who went on to lift the trophy, only breaching the Celtic defence in extra-time when Kaka scored in the San Siro.
Gordon Strachan’s insistence on playing Steven Pressley and Gary Caldwell thwarted O’Dea’s development although he proved to be a more than able deputy when called upon.
Loan spells at Reading and Ipswich were clear signals that his future lay away from Celtic Park with the defender looking forward to the next chapter in his career.
“I’m not part of the plans at the minute, and I’m trying to leave the club,” he admitted. “I think everyone is quite happy with that. I’ve had a fantastic time at Celtic, and have nothing but good things to say about everyone at the club.
“I know everyone inside out and it’s like a family to me but it’s time to move on. I think everyone knows the score now, and I’m just working hard to be fit and ready to go.
“When I look back on my Celtic career, I don’t think I’ve ever played four or five games in a row at centre-half- that’s the only little disappointment, but I certainly would not leave Celtic bitter in any way.
“I owe my whole career to them, and the set-up now I think is fantastic, there certainly is a life outwith here but the life here is good, let me tell you.
“It’s a club which I’m honoured to have played for, and in big games. I’ve won things, two leagues and two cups. In a short time I’ve achieved a decent enough standing, and it’s something I’ll look back on when I finish my playing career.”
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