JOE LEDLEY will ignore the pain from his damaged groin to face Hearts tomorrow night as Celtic attempt to avoid a third straight defeat.

However, James Forrest is still weeks away from a return and has already been ruled out of the crunch Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow a week tomorrow.

The Parkhead club lost 2-1 to Benfica last Tuesday, and followed that up with a shock 1-0 home defeat to Inverness at the weekend.

Ledley was able to soldier on for 80 exhausting minutes in Lisbon before missing out at the weekend. But Lennon has revealed his Welsh dragon, along with Beram Kayal, will have a big part to play in the coming weeks.

He said: "Joe should be okay for tomorrow night. Beram had a good game on Saturday, and looked far more like the Beram we know."

With Victor Wanyama suspended for the Spartak match after picking up a third group stage caution in Lisbon, and Scott Brown's participation likely to be in doubt right up until kick off on the night that the club make their push for last 16 spot, Lennon wants to know Ledley will be available.

The manager has told the players that this will be the biggest game played at Parkhead for many, many years, and he wants the strongest possible squad available.

So, the medical staff are trying to strike the balance between keeping Ledley active and giving him the rest his condition requires to have him operating at full power.

But Lennon is bitterly disappointed that despite a month of intensive investigation and treatment, Forrest – who turned the match in Moscow when he came off the bench – will not be fit to face Spartak.

He said: "James is not going to make the Spartak game, and that is a huge blow because we do miss him at times, that pace, that dynamism, particularly when teams are sitting in."