Darren O'Dea talks up relationship with 'director of football' Ange Postecoglou at Celtic

By John McGinley

September 23, 2022

Darren O’Dea has taken part in a very interesting interview on his playing and coaching career with the Irish football show Off The Ball, giving an insight into his working relationship with Ange Postecoglou.

O’Dea is currently sharing head coach duties in charge of the Celtic B team, alongside former captain Stephen McManus.

The former Republic of Ireland describes recent restructuring at the club as designed to align the youth set-up far more closely with the first team, even describing Postecoglou as a ‘director of football’ type figure overseeing the direction of the B team project.

Photo by Mateusz Slodkowski/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Speaking to Off The Ball, he said: “It’s a joint role; the two of us lead the B team. Essentially it’s the reserve team, that’s the easiest way to explain it. But the difference is now that this year there’s been a restructuring – it’s directly under the manager, he takes a massive say in it. It’s essentially trying to align our team into the first team in terms of style of play, culture, profile of player, recruitment – everything aligns into the first-team. Hopefully this alignment gives us a better chance to get more players through.

“I wanted to work at a club where I wouldn’t have to sacrifice my own principles. I can assure you, having to align with this manager I’m not sacrificing any of the principles I have in my head. He has a wonderful way of seeing football, with nuances that are unique to him. It’s a pleasure to coach a fantastic style, the broad principles are exactly what I believe in as well.

“Celtic are built on it. It’s built on entertaining people. Of course, the by product of that is winning cups and leagues. I don’t want to get too dramatic with it but I do feel this manager is just perfect timing for me. He’s living proof, he’s sticking his neck on the line, you see the strength he’s got and how much he believes in what he does. The whole club, the players, the staff, everyone in the club takes strength from that. I’m learning a hell of a lot from it.

“I think the way he would maybe describe it is that myself and Stephen are head coaches and he’s like a director of football. Ultimately everything will go through him but he gives us a lot of autonomy. It’s a fantastic learning experience for me. He’s someone that you look at and you think in 30 years time I’ll be repeating things he’s said and what I’ve learned from him.”

It’s great to hear that Postecoglou is now taking such a hands on role with the B team and trying to align it with what he’s doing at senior level as much as possible. Ultimately it could be a crucial component of him eventually leaving a lasting legacy at the Bhoys.

Obviously, it remains to be seen how successful this ends up being with regards to integrating young players into the first-team squad, but it certainly now sounds like things are on the right track after some concerns over the last few years.

Most of all, it shines through that Postecoglou is as influential a figure behind-the-scenes at the club as we have all presumed.

In other news, Celtic announce new grassroots partnership in Australia as club look to ‘expand footprint’.