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EX-CELT QUITS – AND REVEALS TOMMY BURNS’ INFLUENCE

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FORMER Celtic defender Darren O’Dea will quit playing at the end of the season – and has spoken of the influence Hoops legend Tommy Burns had on his career.

The ex-Republic of Ireland star will hang up his boots at the age of 32 after failing to prevent Dundee’s relegation from the Premiership following a dismal campaign.

O’Dea won two league titles, a League Cup and a Scottish Cup during his days at Parkhead and he will now pursue a career in coaching.

The centre-back, speaking to SKY Sports, said: “It’s been a difficult decision as I feel I have plenty in the tank, but my passion in life is now in another part of football – coaching.

“One special person I want to mention is Tommy Burns. The man signed me at Celtic and started the whole dream off. He might have left us in body, but he’s never left in spirit.

“I thought about him every day as a player and you can guarantee he’ll be on my mind every day as a coach.”

O’Dea had loan spells with Reading, Ipswich and Leeds while at Parkhead in the early days of his career.

After leaving the Hoops, he signed for Toronto FC in Major League Soccer before playing for Ukranian side Metalurh Donetsk and a year-long spell at Blackpool in the Championship.

From there, he went to Mumbai City FC in India before spending the last three years of his playing career at Dens Park.

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