Dane Murray's Celtic debut gave Darren O'Dea a rush like no other

By John McGinley

July 23, 2021

Former Celtic defender and current youth coach Darren O’Dea has been speaking excitedly about watching Dane Murray in action for the first team.

Murray was thrown in at the deep end for his debut on Tuesday night. He faced Danish side FC Midtjylland with the Bhoys down to ten men. Only the inexperienced Stephen Welsh was alongside him in the heart of the defence too.

However, he conducted himself well, drew praise from manager Ange Postecoglou and now has a chance to push for a more regular place in matchday squads.

For O’Dea, it was a moment of pride. The former Republic of Ireland international has been working closely with Murray for a couple of years now. He’s obviously a big admirer and was delighted Murray came through his debut with credit.

Speaking to The Celtic View Podcast, O’Dea said: “Dane’s been with me since I came in nearly two years ago.

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“I very, very rarely have any nerves. But watching him come on the other night I would be lying if I wasn’t a little bit nervous. Not because I was worried he wouldn’t perform or wouldn’t handle it, I knew he would. There’s no feeling I get on a Friday night with the U18s or with the B team on a Saturday that will give me the same level of satisfaction as seeing a young player come on and make his first-team debut.

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“Ultimately, the goal for Dane is now to work even harder, find his next appearance and do what Callum McGregor and James Forrest have done and stay and embed yourself in the team. That’s going to take time.

“All my drive is aimed at that. So when I saw him come on the other night, that’s where I get my kick from.

“Adam Montgomery, Dane Murray and Owen Moffat, they work every day to the maximum. When they got their opportunity they didn’t know it was coming. But they were just in a rhythm and that’s when they impress people.”

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Darren O’Dea having a positive coaching impact at Celtic

O’Dea compares the situation of Murray, Montgomery and Moffat to Callum McGregor and James Forrest, two academy graduates leading the way in the senior side.

He thinks they not only have high potential but also the right attitude. For O’Dea it’s about turning up at training every day and working exceptionally hard even when opportunities aren’t apparent. Getting into that mode will eventually lead to someone taking notice, says the former defender.

It’s actually a great interview and well worth a watch in its entirety. O’Dea is heavily involved with coaching the players on the brink of breaking through from youth football to the B team and onto the first team. His insight is very welcome.

O’Dea has already been singled out by young players such as Montgomery as someone who is having a huge influence at Lennoxtown, so hopefully, he can guide more teenagers towards Ange Postecoglou’s senior side.

In other news, transfer silly season is well underway at Celtic.

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