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Darren O’Dea expects former team-mate Jack Hendry to back up confident words

Hendry joined Celtic in January.

Darren O’Dea expects former team-mate Jack Hendry to back up confident words

Dundee captain Darren O’Dea believes former team-mate Jack Hendry’s self-belief can help him become a top player for Celtic and Scotland.

The 22-year-old defender, who arrived at Dens Park last summer from Wigan, departed for the Hoops on a four-and-a-half-year deal at the end of January and received widespread praise after making his Scotland debut in Tuesday’s 1-0 win in Hungary.

O’Dea, 31, liked what he saw in the fellow defender, who claimed after winning his first cap in Budapest that: “Maybe some people think it’s happened quicker (than expected) but I always believed I would get to this point.”

Speaking ahead of Dundee’s home game against Hearts in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Sunday, former Celtic man O’Dea said of Hendry: “He is borderline arrogant. He has an ego but top players need it.

“You need it at a club like Celtic and believe me when things don’t go right there you will need all that bravado.

“I probably had it when I was his age. I thought I could beat the world and thought no-one was right but me.

“That drive you had and that focus, as long as it is on the right side, can be fantastic, it can be a massive strength and he certainly has a lot of belief in himself.

“I love players who make comments like that, but as long as they back it up.

“He is at a fantastic club but a lot of credit needs to go to Dundee, who gave him a chance when he had stalled a bit for whatever reason.

“I hopes he goes on and has a good career with Scotland. He is young enough and he has got everything you would want in a modern-day centre-back.

“It is how much he wants it and wants to improve. If you can’t improve at a club like Celtic, you won’t improve anywhere.”

Dundee sit in 10th place, six points ahead of bottom side Ross County and three ahead of Partick Thistle as they await the visit of Hearts.

However, O’Dea is focused only on points and not positions.

The Irishman said: “If you look at the league too much, sometimes it can give you a false sense of security.

“I think it gave us a false sense of security a while ago.

“We were eighth but you are one or two losses away from being right back in it so I look at it more in terms of points, and three points would be massive on Sunday and hopefully we can get them.”

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