Former Dundee skipper Darren O’Dea has called time on his successful career as he chases his coaching dream beyond the end of this season.
The 32-year-old has had an eventful three-and-a-half seasons at Dens Park and made his 100th appearance for the club last weekend at home to Hamilton Accies.
The landmark was soured by the club’s relegation to the Championship following the 1-0 defeat.
With the fate of the Dark Blues sealed, the Irishman chose to reveal his plans to move into coaching and give up full-time football once this season ends.
In his time at the club, O’Dea has played under three managers, been made club captain then sidelined, then brought back, sidelined and then brought back again as his leadership and determination helped the Dark Blues stay up twice before eventually succumbing to the drop this year.
Two Scottish Premier League titles, a League Cup and Scottish Cup with Celtic and 20 international caps tell their own story of a career that has taken O’Dea from Parkhead to Dens via Reading, Ipswich, Leeds, Toronto, Donetsk, Blackpool and Mumbai.
Today the Tele has a look at his key moments in dark blue.
Partick Thistle 2-4 Dundee
January 16, 2016
Signed by former Celtic team-mate Paul Hartley from Mumbai FC, O’Dea made his debut in a fine victory. Goals came from Kane Hemmings, Greg Stewart and Gary Harkins but O’Dea made a fine impression in his first run-out in the centre of defence.
Dundee 6-2 Dumbarton
July 23, 2016
The first edition of the revamped League Cup group stage saw the Dark Blues stumble but not without smashing six past Championship side Dumbarton. That match saw O’Dea grab his first goal for Dundee, heading in from a free-kick, in just his second match after being confirmed as club captain.
Ross County 1-3 Dundee
August 6, 2016
The Dark Blues began the 2016/17 league season in the best possible fashion with a fine victory on the road in Dingwall with Rory Loy bagging a double.
O’Dea played his role in that one, earning an eight in the Tele player ratings.That would be the only bright light for a while as Dundee didn’t win again until the end of October when they beat Hamilton.
Dundee 2-0 Motherwell
November 5, 2016
After that victory over Hamilton, O’Dea played a major role in a second clean sheet in two matches, this time at home to the Steelmen.
He and central-defensive partner Kevin Gomis were the standouts against ’Well’s front line of Louis Moult and Scott McDonald.
Dundee 1-1 Ross County
May 13, 2017
This was the big O’Dea moment at Dens Park.
Hartley had gone two matches previously and Neil McCann was in as caretaker manager, winning his first two in charge and setting up the chance for safety.
Liam Boyce had put Jim McIntyre’s County ahead and times were edgy at Dens before Cammy Kerr was brought down by future team-mate Craig Curran.
Up stepped captain O’Dea for the pressure penalty and his thunderous strike almost dismantled the goalposts as it went in before he jumped into the South Enclosure to be swamped by fans.
Ross County 0-1 Dundee
May 8, 2018
O’Dea developed a taste for cards at the start of the following season but finished it off in style with a deserved clean sheet in Dingwall that secured a 10th-place finish and safety once more.
Dundee 0-1 Hamilton
May 4, 2019
This season hasn’t gone the way anybody at Dens wanted as the club were relegated, spoiling O’Dea’s 100th appearance.