Ledley urges Celtic to bounce back to lift title


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The Independent Football

Joe Ledley insists Celtic cannot dwell on their Old Firm derby disappointment as they prepare for what could be another opportunity to clinch the Premier League title.

Victory over Rangers would have allowed the Hoops to claim the SPL crown at Ibrox on Sunday but a 3-2 defeat denied them a title party on their greatest rivals' turf.

Depending on the outcome of Rangers' game at Motherwell on Saturday, Celtic could be in the position once again to confirm themselves as champions when they host St Johnstone the following day.

But, having suffered back-to-back defeats in major matches after also losing the Scottish Communities League Cup final to Kilmarnock, Ledley believes Neil Lennon's men must restore their focus.

He said: "We're going to have another opportunity to prove ourselves and hopefully get a win. We just need to concentrate on the three points. We weren't happy with how things went on Sunday, but we need to pick ourselves up and go again.

The Welsh midfielder added: "They were fantastic. They are the best support in Scotland without a doubt and were fantastic on Sunday. They sang all the way through and they are the best supporters in the world. They just proved it again at Ibrox.

"They give us all a massive boost and a buzz when you go into the games and you just want to try to work as hard as you can for them and try to get the win for them, as they had obviously spent a lot of money for tickets."

Saints defeated Celtic at Parkhead at the start of the season and will also be aiming for a win as they bid to take a step closer to securing European football next season.

Ledley said: "They have been one of the better teams this season and are going to make it difficult for us. We're going to have to be on the top of our game to try and break them down."

Meanwhile, Andy Little paid tribute to his Rangers team-mates for brushing aside the club's troubles to claim an impressive win over rivals Celtic.

Rangers were plunged into administration last month, with the playing staff subsequently agreeing to wage cuts of up to 75 per cent in a bid to avoid widespread redundancies.

Little said: "Every single player just showed they didn't want to be beaten. That really came through and we had a lot of pride. We used all the bad stuff which has happened to us to our advantage and it was absolutely superb. The attitude from every single one of our players was unreal."

Goals from Sone Aluko, Little and Lee Wallace saw Rangers race into a commanding lead, as Cha Du-Ri and Victor Wanyama both saw red for the Hoops. Carlos Bocanegra was then ordered off as the home side's numbers were also depleted late on and Scott Brown converted from the resultant penalty, before Thomas Rogne pulled another goal back deep into injury time.

Little added: "We had a silly last five minutes but up until then we were unbelievable and the boys who started deserve a lot of credit. We played to our strengths. Our back three were superb and we ran the midfield as well."

Little – whose Ibrox career has been blighted by injury - netted the second goal with his first touch of the ball just seconds after coming off the bench.

He said: "It's still sinking in. When I was sitting on the bench, I was thinking about how good it would be to score and I was planning my celebration but I think I just went mad when the ball went in.

"I'm loving every minute at the moment and it hasn't just been in the last four or five games. I've been feeling really good for a few months and I've been scoring in reserve games. It is a confidence thing I suppose. I've focused on playing up front again and scoring goals is what I want to do."