O'Dea realistic despite fine run

Darren O'Dea is not fooled by the strong finish Celtic have had to the end of the season.

Darren O'Dea is not fooled by the strong finish Celtic have had to the end of the season.

After racking up their first Old Firm win of the campaign against Rangers at Parkhead on Tuesday night, the Hoops can extend their winning run in the SPL to eight games with victory over Hearts at Tynecastle tomorrow.

However, the Irishman prefers to look at the season as a whole and cannot forget how easily the championship race was lost to their Ibrox rivals or the low point of the campaign, the embarrassing Active Nation Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Irn-Bru First Division side Ross County.

O'Dea, 23, became the latest Celtic player to back Neil Lennon`s candidature for the job as manager but insists the minimum requirements for next season is wresting the SPL title back from Govan - regardless of who is in charge.

The former Celtic youth player said: "It has been very pleasing the way we have finished the season but you have to step back into reality and realise that it has not been good enough overall.

"The players realise that it's our fault that we are in this position, without a trophy.

"We need to make sure that next season we start well and we have something to show for it.

"I don't think there is any Celtic player or fan that would argue against Lenny getting the job. He has been fantastic since he came in.

"But no matter who is here this season, we will need to do a lot better and we will have to win the league, it's as simple as that.

"Two years is long enough to not have won it and as I said, hopefully Lenny does get the job, he knows what needs to be done."

Lennon may have a 100% record in SPL games since becoming Celtic's interim manager but Hearts winger David Templeton is unbeaten in both his appearances against the Hoops.

Something will have to give tomorrow and the latter cannot wait for his third outing against the Glasgow giants.

"You want to play in all the big games," said the 22-year-old, who feature in the goalless draw between the sides at Parkhead on the final day of last season, his last appearance before December's crucial 2-1 win at Tynecastle.

"Playing against Celtic and Rangers, obviously they're massive.

"I love playing in them. I think I've played twice now against Celtic and it's been brilliant."

He added: "Celtic are playing well just now.

"I watched the game on Tuesday and I thought they played a lot better than they had been.

"Obviously, it'll be a hard game for us but hopefully we can go out and put on a good performance."

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