Joe Ledley lauds Celtic transfers and mentality ahead of vital Parkhead clash

By Euan Davidson

February 1, 2022

Joe Ledley was more than happy with what he saw from Celtic on Saturday, as the Hoops picked up a galvanising late win before the Glasgow Derby.

Liel Abada earned Celtic three points on Saturday, setting up a game against Rangers where a win would ensure top ranking in the Scottish Premiership. It’d be Ange’s first time at the summit of the table with Celtic, and Ledley, who starred for the Bhoys between 2010 and 2014, has been left encouraged from his Parkhead visit.

Ledley was part of a Celtic side who trailed Rangers over the first half of the season. However, Lennon’s Hoops overcame our rivals at the summit of the table, around the turn of the New Year. In fact, it was Joe Ledley’s header that secured a 1-0 win in late December, 2011. The Hoops never looked back, eventually winning the league by 20 points.

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

While Ledley isn’t predicting the same outcome necessarily, he’s been buoyed by Abada’s late win and the resolve it took. Not only that, he believes that recruitment has been “fantastic”. He said [Scottish Daily Mail, 1/2, print edition p. 69]: “The win was so needed with Rangers drawing their game beforehand.

“The game was quiet and we just needed to get that goal. Once it came, looking around the stadium after that, it was terrific. Once you have those fans packing it out, not seeing empty seats, that’s when you need to take advantage.

“It’s tough and you can see that, but it is just about grinding out results at the moment, isn’t it?

“The recruitment has been fantastic. It needed to be sorted and it’s going right. If it doesn’t happen for them this season, it’s still going from strength to strength and it’s just a building-up time.

“The club is going in the right direction.”

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Joe Ledley is bang-on as Celtic gear up for Rangers test

It is just about grinding out results. Celtic are missing a whole XI of players who could legitimately start in different circumstances. So yes, right on both counts there, Mr Ledley.

Of course, Saturday’s winner doesn’t mean quite as much if Celtic don’t do the job against Rangers tomorrow night. But in terms of a galvanising moment for morale, you can’t really ask for much more. It felt like one of those afternoons where if the game had gone on for 3 more hours, the Hoops wouldn’t have scored.

Until, of course, it wasn’t.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Those scenes of celebration unavoidable harken back to big season-defining moments. Scott Brown against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, Ledley’s goal against Rangers in 2011, countless others. We’ve been really lucky in that these scenes are familiar to us.

And while it sounds as if Ledley is being a tad negative about our chances this season, he’s right about that, too. Celtic and Ange Postecoglou had to get recruitment absolutely spot-on to even give us a chance this season. Things look great for the future, given the age and profile of players we’ve brought in.

The fact that we’re in with a real, legitimate shout this season, though, remains remarkable. Of course, there’d be immediate pressure on Ange Postecoglou from both himself and the club to hit the ground running. However, looking objectively, he’s already out-performed many of our expectations this season.

It’s great to hear a guy like Joe Ledley, still obviously loved by the Celtic supporters, talking rationally and optimistically about what the Bhoys can achieve. This club still means so much to him, and that’s meaningful.

It helps, too, that he’s right.

Read more: Kris Boyd forgets Celtic signed actual Premier League winners in embarrassing Sky comments