Dundee’s O’Dea believes they will still be facing Rodgers’ Celtic side

Neil Lennon may be the man in the opposition dug-out at Dens Park on Sunday but Darren O’Dea believes it will still be Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic squaring up to Dundee.

Lennon has been back in charge at Parkhead for two-and-a-half weeks after being called in by Peter Lawwell to pick up the reins on an interim basis following Rodgers’ Leicester defection.

But rather than tinker with a winning formula, Dee defender O’Dea reckons Lennon will again stick to the game plan that served his fellow Northern Irishman so well during Celtic’s charge to seven straight domestic trophies when they take on Jim McIntyre’s team.

However, should his old Hoops captain be given the job permanently, then O’Dea expects Lennon to build a team in his own image next season.

O’Dea – who spent three months playing under Rodgers while on loan at Reading a decade ago – said: “They are two different coaches. I know both of them very well.

“Neil has gone in and tried to steady the ship if you like without putting in too much of his input.

“But I know him very well. He’s a very passionate and very good coach as well and I think gradually he’ll try to put his own imprint on it.

“He’s gone into a very successful team, though, and I think from listening to him he probably wouldn’t want to change too much too soon.

“Eventually he may do that but as for this weekend, it will probably be similar to what we faced earlier in the season.

“However, the longer Lenny is in the job then certainly the more he will want to put his own stamp on it.”

Lennon guided Celtic to back-to-back wins over Hearts and former club Hibernian in his first two games in charge. But he admitted they were “psychologically fatigued” after being held to a 0-0 home draw by Aberdeen last Saturday.

O’Dea, however, is not holding out much hope that the Hoops will be feeling flat this weekend.

He said: “I know what he’s meaning by that but when you’re at a club like Celtic, you’re tested psychologically all the time.

“It’s probably one of the most difficult parts of being a Celtic player.

“Listen, he said that after they drew a game. That’s a sign of the size of club and how successful they are that that’s considered a rut if you like.

“There’s no particular time that’s great to face them. Ultimately we need to be at our very best to get anything and that’s what we aim to do.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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