DARREN O’DEA has conformed his return to Celtic as the club’s new Under-18 manager, as CQN reported a month ago.

The former Hoops and Republic of Ireland centre-half has quit Motherwell only a year after joining the Fir Park outfit following his retirement as a player with Dundee.

O’Dea has replaced his old team-mate Stephen McManus in the role with the former Hoops captain stepping up to the reserve squad alongside Tommy McIntyre.

The 32-year-old moved on from the Dens Park side following their relegation from the top flight and signed a deal with East Kilbride.

However, he left his local club again soon after due to work commitments and now completes an emotional return to Parkhead.

O’Dea spent six years at the Hoops, playing 70 games and scoring six goals. His best moment for Celtic came in the 2009 League Cup Final at Hampden when he headed the winner against against their Ibrox opponents.

The Irishman, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “It was an extremely tough decision to leave Motherwell as I have loved every minute of my short time at Fir Park

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

“I want to thank Stephen Robinson and Steven Hammell, along with all the other coaches and support staff, as well as the board at Motherwell, for the opportunity and wish everyone at the club the very best going forward.”

O’Dea earned 20 caps for his country and also played for Reading, Ipswich, Leeds, Toronto, Metalurh Donetsk, Blackpool and Mumbai City during his 13 year playing career.

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