Dundee's Darren O'Dea retiring to be a coach and will think of Tommy Burns 'every day'

Tommy Burns and Darren O'Dea during a healthy eating campaign by Celtic
Tommy Burns is a constant source of inspiration for Darren O'Dea

Darren O'Dea says he will be thinking of former Celtic manager Tommy Burns "every day" as the Dundee centre-half becomes a full-time coach after announcing he is retiring from playing.

The 32-year-old's Twitter statement comes after Dundee were relegated from the Scottish Premiership on Saturday.

O'Dea, whose contract ends in May, does not mention if he has a club lined up.

"I thought about him every day as a player and he'll be on my mind every day as a coach," he says of 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."

Burns, who died in 2008, was in charge of youth development when O'Dea was signed from Home Farm in his homeland of Ireland.

After six years in Glasgow, and following spells on loan to Reading, Ipswich Town and Leeds United, O'Dea moved on to Toronto, Metalurh Donetsk, Blackpool and Mumbai City before returning to the Scottish top flight with Dundee in 2016.

O'Dea, who also won 20 caps for Republic of Ireland, has made 20 appearances during the current campaign.

"I've decided to retire from full-time football at the end of the season," he said. "It's been a difficult decision as I feel I have plenty left in the tank, but my passion in life is now in another part of football - coaching.

"My path in coaching started four years ago and I've become obsessed with it. It's a career I can't wait to begin."

Dundee, who were relegated after suffering a 10th consecutive defeat, 1-0 at home to Hamilton Academical, have two remaining fixtures.

They visit Livingston on Saturday, with St Mirren visiting Dens Park a week later.

Dundee's Darren O'Dea and Martin Woods are left dejected
Darren O'Dea (left) has been Dundee for three years

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