Every point is vital for Dundee now but experienced defender Darren O’Dea acknowledges they’ve got a “mammoth effort” ahead of them to get any from Celtic on Sunday.
The league leaders and reigning champions head to Dens Park for a lunchtime kick-off on Sunday time as clear favourites to pick up the three points on offer.
That would take them one step closer to an eighth-straight title but Irish international O’Dea has no interest in that despite his history with the Parkhead club – his only worry is getting points on the board for the Dark Blues.
With the business end of the season on the horizon, the 32-year-old knows it’s vital Dundee get a leg up on their relegation rivals Hamilton and St Mirren.
Despite the Dens men being as much as 18/1 with some bookies to pick up a victory, O’Dea has been part of Dundee sides that have picked up results against the Hoops – three goalless draws since his arrival in January 2016.
He told the Tele: “Every game is vital but Sunday doesn’t get much harder.
“There have been games recently where we could’ve got more out of.
“Since I’ve been here we’ve picked up some results against them both home and away but, one thing is for sure, it takes a mammoth effort.
“It needs every player to be near the top of their game and we aim to do that this weekend.
“It will be difficult and take a huge amount of effort but I don’t think effort is something we’ll have to worry about – if we can get that wee bit of quality we’ve lacked at certain times, hopefully, we can pick up a result.”
Dundee go into Sunday’s contest on the back of a poor run of form, losing their last three league matches against Hibs, Rangers and then Hearts.
It’s not all doom and gloom for O’Dea, however, after an improved display in the 1-0 loss to the Jambos at Dens Park last Saturday.
With chances spurned and a poor goal conceded, the Edinburgh side left with the points but the centre-half says Dundee can take a lot from their performance into Sunday, even if Celtic’s fluid frontline brings a different threat to the direct and physical approach from Craig Levein’s men last week.
“Hearts aren’t embarrassed at the way they play and they shouldn’t be, they won the game, but Celtic will be a completely different style of play,” O’Dea said.
“There are different ways to play against that, none of them easy, but the manager will figure out which way we go about it and we know we’re at the stage where every point is vital.”
He added: “The Hearts game was scrappy, their style made it that way which is fine but they were very direct but they didn’t create too much.
“The goal was an absolute stramash with bodies all over the place and they had Morrison with a shot just after but, bar that, I can’t think of any more shots they had on goal.
“We were structured well as a team but we looked dangerous and for it being a really scrappy game we were the ones who created the moments of quality in the game.
“For a final ball or a finish, 100% it wouldn’t have been undeserved to get a point or maybe more but we didn’t.
“Now that’s neither here nor there, Hearts have three points and we don’t, but we can take positives from the performance.
“We are in the business end of the season so it’s only results that matter but, in terms of endeavour and chances created, there are positives.”