Darren O’Dea insists he is not fretting over the prospect of receiving stick from Rangers fans today – because he gets widespread criticism every day through social media.
O’Dea is guaranteed to be on the receiving end of some stinging verbal jibes in today’s Scottish Cup quarter-final after being one of the most vocal critics of the Ibrox outfit following years of financial irregularities.
The Republic of Ireland defender even took the issue as far as calling for the Light Blues to be stripped of their league titles in the wake of liquidation back in 2012.
O’Dea, who starred for Celtic from 2006 to 2012, has declared himself ready for whatever reaction the home crowd are preparing to give him in today’s televised lunchtime clash in Govan, but is refusing to lose sleep over it.
He said: “I don’t need to play Rangers to get stick. All you have to do is go on my Twitter account any hour of the day to see the abuse.
“I love it. It’s all part of football as long as it stays within certain boundaries.
“I like Scottish football. This is definitely the type of game that makes it special.
“I love Scottish people. I have lived here half my life. It’s all banter and I enjoy it. I’m sure I will get a recption of sorts.”
Paul Hartley’s side head for Glasgow for the second time in the space of just a few days in fine fettle following their 0-0 league draw away to Celtic in midweek.
Defender O’Dea, who is set to return to their back four after missing the Parkhead clash through injury, is urging his team-mates to also thrive in the red-hot atmosphere which Ibrox is sure to generate this afternoon.
He added: “Environments like this are what you either look forward to or you don’t. I would imagine most players will look forward to it, but some will not.
“It’s an experience I’ve had as a player. Having said that, I think when I went there as a Celtic player it was maybe a little but more intimidating than the one we will receive.
“It’s a fantastic stadium and Rangers are a good side. So it won’t be easy for us. We have to go there to battle for everything. There is no need for anyone to be fearful of the atmosphere.
“There is absolutely no toning this down. It’s a massive game for us.
“If someone would have said to us ‘who do you want’ before the draw was made we would have just said we wanted a home tie. We didn’t get that. We did get a team from a lower division, though.
“In that respect, it’s all there for us. We have it all to play for.
“If we want to win this trophy, like we feel we can, we have to win these kind of games.
“Some players go their whole career without winning anything, including top players.
“Chances like this don’t come along too often really. We need to make sure we don’t let this one pass us by.
“We have a fantastic opportunity to put Dundee’s name on the cup.
“Everyone is rightly up for it.”
Dundee know victory today would put them in the last four and Dubliner O’Dea believes they have what it takes to go all the way and become the first Dens Park side to get their hands on the trophy since 1910.
He said: “It’s a chance to put ourselves into a cup semi-final. Who knows what can happen from there?
“That is the stage of the competition where anything can happen.
“We are right in the mix to win it. There is no denying that. One of the eight teams left will get their name on the trophy.”