Former Celtic star ‘in frame’ for Championship manager job - but Scottish Cup winner installed as favourite

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The former Hoops defender is a leading contender to replaced axed Billy Dodds as manager of the Highland club.

Celtic B-team coach Darren O’Dea is in the running to land the Inverness job, according to reports.

The Scottish Sun claim that the Championship club are ‘keen’ to speak to the 36-year-old Irishman about their vacant manager’s post following the decision to part ways with Billy Dodds on Sunday evening.

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Last season’s beaten Scottish Cup finalists have endured a disappointing start to the new campaign and currently prop up the table with just one point from their last nine games. Saturday’s narrow 1-0 defeat to Raith Rovers proved to be the final straw for Dodds - just three months after signing a new deal with the Highland outfit.

And experienced former Hoops defender O’Dea - capped 20 times for his country - is a leading contender to fill the position.

O’Dea started his coaching journey with Premiership side Motherwell in 2019 and currently assists Stephen McManus as part of Celtic’s B-team set-up in the Lowland League.

Having turned out for Reading, Ipswich, Toronto, Dundee and Blackpool during his playing career, O’Dea is understood to feature high on a list of possible candidates drafted up by the Inverness board.

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Ex-St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson is currently the bookmakers favourite, with former Rangers midfielder Kevin Thomson, current Hearts B-team coach Liam Fox and Neil McCann also featuring prominently.

It is believed Inverness want to make a swift appointment after placing John Robertson in temporary charge along with club legend Charlie Christie.

Confirming Dodds’ departure on Sunday, a club statement read: “It is with much regret that the club has taken the decision to terminate the contracts of Head Coach Billy Dodds and his Assistant Manager Barry Wilson with immediate effect.

“In the first instance we would like to put on record our huge appreciation for the efforts of Billy since taking the position. His professionalism, attention to detail and positive attitude could never be faulted no matter the challenges we faced.

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“The run to the Premiership play-off final in his first season was an epic effort which saw us only fall short in the final 45 mins of the final.

“And it goes without saying that reaching the Scottish Cup Final for the second time in our 29 year history was a fantastic achievement, as was the performance of the team that day against the Scottish champions.

“It is important to note that this is not a decision which has been taken lightly and as our history shows, it is rarely the way managerial changes happen at Caledonian Stadium. We do not have a revolving door, nor a hire and fire at the drop of the hat attitude and we do not expect that to change going forward.

“That said, the CEO and full Board of Directors had been meeting regularly with Billy regarding performances, results, and our expectations and ambitions for this season. We were all determined to give ourselves the best possible chance to succeed.

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“Our intention is always to be competing for promotion but as is repeated regularly in such circumstances we are in a results driven business and sadly, this seasons results have not reflected the quality we believe we have in the building.

“Assistant Manager Barry Wilson is a club legend and he has more than ably served the club as player and coach. His many years here as both, and the respect with which he has been held, shows our appreciation of his service. Sometimes in football we have to make difficult decisions and both of the decisions outlined above fall very hard into that category.

“Sporting Director John Robertson and Academy Director Charlie Christie will take charge of the team in the interim period while we endeavour to find a new Head Coach in short order and applications will be accepted.

“We have great plans for the club as we move towards our 30th year and indeed a bright future. More importantly we have a very good squad of players, many of whom were brought in over the last two years. And they now have to step up and prove they are worthy of the plaudits they have all previously received to help both the interim Football Dept staff and the new Head Coach, once appointed.”

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