Celtic star Joe Ledley says there are plenty silver linings ahead

JOE Ledley today insisted Celtic have put the bitter disappointment of their shock League Cup exit firmly behind them with back-to-back wins.

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Ledley has fully consigned Celtic's Hampden horror defeat to St Mirren  to history
Ledley has fully consigned Celtic's Hampden horror defeat to St Mirren to history

And he is confident Neil Lennon's team is in perfect shape to launch strong challenges in all the competitions they remain involved in – including the Champions League.

The Welsh midfielder was speaking as he looked ahead to a crucial spell of matches for the Parkhead club both domestically and in Europe.

The Hoops take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle, currently occupying second spot in the SPL table, up in the Highlands on Saturday.

Then on Tuesday night comes the first leg of the massive Champions League last-16 showdown with Juventus in Glasgow.

After that, a Scottish Cup quarter-final clash with St Mirren, the team who stunned them at Hampden, at the start of next month looms on the horizon.

And that grudge rematch will be followed four days later by the rematch with Serie A giants Juve in Turin.

Ledley, who played for Wales in their 2-1 friendly win against Austria at the Liberty Stadium last night, is looking forward to a run of games that will shape their season.

"We were all very disappointed with the cup result," he admitted.

"We wanted to win every competition that we are in and we won't be able to do that this season.

"But we have definitely moved on. We needed to do that and I think that we have done exactly that with the wins we have recorded over Kilmarnock and Raith Rovers.

"We want to win the SPL and the Scottish Cup and get as far as we can in the Champions League.

"That is our aim now we are out of the League Cup. Hopefully we can achieve it."

Ledley was helpless to prevent St Mirren from romping to a shock 3-2 Treble-busting win over Celtic in the League Cup semi-final at the end of last month.

The tournament favourites were comfortably defeated; the scoreline was made more respectable looking by a Charlie Mulgrew goal in injury time.

Yet, as emphatic 4-1 and 3-0 triumphs over Kilmarnock at home and Raith away respectively since then testify, nobody in the Celtic squad is dwelling on the reverse.

And the 26-year-old is completely confident his side will not be harbouring any doubts about their big match mentality when they square up to Juve next week.

"We just had a bad day at Hampden," shrugged Ledley. "We just had a collective off day. It was very disappointing, but it happens in football.

"We have looked over it. Maybe on a different day we would win that game, but, unfortunately for us, it wasn't to be.

"We beat arguably the best team ever in Barcelona earlier this season.

"We are not overawed by big occasions or anything like that. We have moved on and are looking forward."

Celtic manager Lennon reverted to the 3-5-2 line-up he has dabbled with at times in the 2012/13 campaign in the SPL game against Kilmarnock last week.

It has led to speculation that he will field his team in that formation against Antonio Conte's team, who frequently set up in the unorthodox system themselves.

Ledley, for one, would be happy if his gaffer takes that gamble against a quality team many fancy to win Europe's premier club competition for the first time since 1996.

"I am quite happy when we played with a 3-5-2 formation, but especially at home," he said.

"When teams come to play us at Parkhead they normally use one up front.

"So we may as well go with three at the back if they are doing that.

"It allows us to push the full- backs forward and gives us a bit more space in midfield.

"That is the benefit for us and I think it is actually a big benefit. I actually think it works well for us.

And hopefully it can bring us a positive result on the night and one which we can take to Turin."

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