Ledley: Let's stick together

Joe Ledley says Celtic have "a fantastic future" if they can keep their title-winning squad together.

Last Updated: 22/04/13 at 07:15 Post Comment   

Joe Ledley: Wants to keep squad intact

Joe Ledley: Wants to keep squad intact

Joe Ledley is hoping Neil Lennon keeps Celtic's Clydesdale Bank Premier League title-winning squad together for next season.

The Hoops' stand-in skipper scored in the 4-1 win over Inverness at Parkhead on Sunday which clinched Celtic's second successive SPL championship.

After an uninspiring first half, Gary Hooper opened the scoring from close range and took his tally to 28 with his second, after Ledley had driven in from a Mikael Lustig pass.

A late goal from substitute Georgios Samaras, on for Anthony Stokes, rendered Aaron Doran's injury-time goal a mere consolation for the visitors.

When the celebrations subside, speculation surrounding which players could be leaving Celtic in the summer will continue, with Hooper and midfielder Victor Wanyama favourites to go.

However, Ledley is keen to stay and hopes disruption to his manager's plans for next season, which will include trying to replicate their run to the last 16 of the Champions League, is kept to a minimum.

"There will always be ins and outs at every club," said the Wales international.

"We have a fantastic team and I'll be very surprised if everyone stays.

"Everyone has watched in the Champions League and SPL and there's going to be a lot of interest in the majority of the players.

"But if we can keep it together, we have a fantastic future and Celtic will go forward and hopefully qualify for the Champions League again.

"There's nothing new with my own situation at the moment but I'll sit down near the beginning of next season and try to sort something out.

"Myself, Gary and Kelvin (Wilson) all have a lot of time left on our contracts.

"But I love it here at Celtic and obviously want to stay.

"I think most of the players do want to stay but you just never know in football. Anything can happen."

Ledley won his second title since signing from Cardiff City in 2010 and has the chance to win a second William Hill Scottish Cup winners' medal next month when Celtic face Hibernian in the Hampden final.

The 26-year-old could not be happier with the expectations that surround the Parkhead club.

"The pressure to win is the best there is," he said. "It's no good going to a club that's mid-table or fighting relegation and thinking 'let's go here and get a point or hang on'.

"At Celtic, wherever you go, whether it's in the league or the Champions League, you are always under pressure to win.

"That's what you want as a footballer - to win things.

"It's fantastic to come here and have that pressure and I think we've dealt with it fantastically well this season especially in the Champions League.

"Hopefully we can just continue that until the end of the season."

Caley manager Terry Butcher, a former Rangers defender, praised Celtic for keeping their focus without having the Ibrox club, playing in the Irn-Bru Third Division after re-emerging there following liquidation, to keep the pressure on them this season.

"It is difficult for Celtic because they have not had Rangers with them," he said.

"When I was at Rangers I couldn't have contemplated not having Celtic there pushing you.

"But Celtic have got there and got a cup final to look forward to."


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