DARREN O’DEA has admitted he is “incredibly honoured” to be given the opportunity to return to Celtic.

The former Hoops centre-half has quit Motherwell to take over as manager of the Parkhead side’s Under-18s.

The move comes only four months after the ex-Republic of Ireland international retired as a player at relegated Dundee to take the youth management post at Fir Park.

O’Dea said on Twitter: “I am incredibly honoured to be given this role.”

The 32-year-old is back at the club where he kicked off his career, winning two league titles and winning two Cups.

He takes over from Stephen McManus, the former Celtic and Motherwell centre-half who steps up to reserve team coach to work alongside manager Tommy McIntyre.

O’Dea had announced he was retiring from playing when leaving the DEns Park outfit, but signed for East Kilbride shortly after joining Motherwell.

However, he left the Lowland League side shortly after that without making an appearance in order to concentrate on his coaching at Fir Park.

He told the Lanarkshire club’s website that it was “an extremely tough decision to leave Motherwell”.

He said: “However, this was a big opportunity that presented itself unexpectedly and I felt I had to take the job.”

Motherwell say O’Dea “has made a significant impact in his short time at Fir Park” and boss Stephen Robinson added: “The timing of the vacancy elsewhere wasn’t great from our point of view, but it couldn’t be helped – it was an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

Well say O’Dea’s successor has already “been appointed and will be announced shortly”.

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About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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