BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Darren O’Dea reckons old team Celtic will be ‘clear favourites’ for next month’s Old Firm Scottish Cup semi-final – but that the tag will have no bearing on the game.
The Dundee defender has seen both sides up close in recent days, having been on the end of Saturday’s 4-0 hammering to Rangers and having watched injured as his Dens Park team-mates came close to an upset in their goalless draw with Celtic last Wednesday.
He concedes that the pair’s current form is such that Rangers would go into the eagerly-awaited tie with huge expectation if the teams were to meet right now.
However, he still believes that Celtic, where he spent seven years as a player, will come out on top if they can hit peak form when the clash does take place next month.
The 29-year-old said: “Who are the favourites? In terms of form, Rangers, and in terms of quality of player, it would be Celtic.
“But I think when the game comes around there will be a clear favourite and it will be Celtic.
“Will that make any difference to the game? No.
“But Celtic will be favourites and they’ll be expected to go and win – and if they don’t win there will be big repercussions, that’s for sure.
“Celtic have a better team but it will come down to what happens on the day.
“But if Celtic perform to the best of their capabilities they’ll win.”
O’Dea was hugely impressed with Rangers, particularly James Tavernier and Lee Wallace, during Saturday’s drubbing for Dundee at Ibrox.
However, the Republic of Ireland internationalist doubts whether Mark Warburton’s side can continue with such an offensive game-plan against the Premiership leaders.
He added to the BBC: “Rangers were very good and they have arguably the two best full-backs in the country at the minute. They were fantastic; very, very good players.
“The ball was out wide on the left at times and I was picking up their right-back in our box.
“They’re a very, very attacking team but I would be amazed if they go that way against Celtic.
“I’ll be very interested to see who the dominant team is on the day. I fully expect Celtic to be and they should be.
“But Rangers are a team that have a certain way of playing and they don’t really change that, so it will be very, very interesting.”