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Last Updated: Friday, 19 October 2007, 22:17 GMT 23:17 UK
O'Dea poised to start for Celtic
Darren O'Dea gets a kick out of training with Celtic
Darren O'Dea came on as a substitute against Spartak Moscow
Darren O'Dea is expected to be recalled to an injury-hit Celtic side for the season's first Old Firm derby against Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday.

BBC Sport also understands that fellow defender Gary Caldwell and midfielder Scott Brown are set to start.

The pair have recovered from injuries that forced them to withdraw from the Scotland squad.

Jiri Jarosik looks likely to be given an attacking midfield role behind lone striker Scott McDonald.

It is a role the Czech has been given before in the Champions League and follows the news that striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink has failed to recover from his injury.

O'Dea has not played since the 1-1 draw with Spartak Moscow in August.

Another great game will surely be in prospect

Celtic defender Gary Caldwell

But he has been drafted in with Celtic manager Gordon Strachan desperately short of right-back cover.

Jean-Joel Perrier-Doumbe, Mark Wilson and Paul Caddis are all missing through injury and Caldwell is likely to be given that role, with O'Dea taking over at the heart of the defence.

Midfielder Paul Hartley has failed to recover from the hamstring injury that forced him out of Scotland's two Euro 2008 qualifiers.

Rangers' Allan McGregor, DaMarcus Beasley and Alan Hutton also all picked up knocks while on international duty.

And Celtic manager Gordon Strachan and Rangers counterpart Walter Smith say fans could be short-changed because players will be tired after international duty.

But Caldwell, who also missed Scotland's games with a knee injury, insisted that the Old Firm derby would never be devalued by injury or suspension problems.

"The game is always fantastic, it's the one on the calendar that everyone always looks at," he said.

"Another great game will surely be in prospect. Come Saturday, I'm sure everyone will be thinking about it."


Celtic visit Ibrox three points ahead of their city rivals in the Scottish Premier League, with Smith stating that it is vital that his side do not lose, even this early in the campaign.

And Strachan had said: "To give full value for money, it would be nice to have a couple of days' more break.

"And the people who pay good money can get fresh players to watch.

"It's going to be mentally and physically a problem. It's hard to deal with sometimes.

"You want to find players at their sharpest. I know fine well you get a better game of football if they have another two days' rest.

"The guys who had to play, it must be really draining for them.

"We are only together for a couple of hours before a huge game of football, but that's what happens when you play at that level."

Celtic (likely): Boruc, Caldwell, O'Dea, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Brown, Donati, McGeadie, Jarosik, McDonald.

Smith prepares for biggest test
19 Oct 07 |  Rangers
Rangers v Celtic
19 Oct 07 |  Scottish Premier
Old Firm in rude health
18 Oct 07 |  Scottish Premier


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