When I look at the team sheet on any match day the first name I always look for is Joe Ledley. He may not have the flair of Forrest or scoring 30 goals a season but Joe makes this Celtic team tic. The bhoy from Cardiff was a great bit of business when he joined for free when Premiership clubs were hovering, it was great coop for the club even if there was no fanfare around it. Many feel in his debut season he was mostly underwhelming in the middle of the park but for me it was the opposite.
He was there going box to box, being quietly effective doing the dirty work and helping Celtic grind out vital wins home and away. He seems to be able to inspire his teammates to roll up their sleeves and get the job done, where I noticed this was at Ibrox on the 6nd February 2011. Trailing 2-1 at Half Time after he had setup Commons for the equaliser and already down to 10 men Ledley was influential in the 2nd half driving the team forward to achieve a 2-2 draw.
I don’t think it should be a surprise that our title bid that season ended in disaster and on the hour in a 0-0 draw at Ibrox in April, Ledley’s season was over and 2 games later at Inverness the title disappeared with a 3-2 defeat.
The 2012/2013 season saw Ledley flourish and was instrumental in the Champions League where he had always wanted to play and driving Celtic onto the double but was unlucky not to be recognised for Player of the Year. “That” night against Barcelona he dominated the midfield and was hounding Xavi anytime he had the ball, hence why the Spanish genius was 1st to offer him his shirt and congratulate him.
However, the main story worrying a lot of fans at present is the dragging out of the contract situation. I think we have seen this far too often at our club when something needs addressed it seems to roll on and on. In this case we need both parties to sit down and flesh this out so there is no more uncertainty. We certainly do not want to be losing Joe as there will be no lack of suitors vying for his signature if we fail to get this tied down. He is already the mould of a Celtic captain and although he doesn’t wear the armband he is one of many leaders on the pitch. He is prepared to “get in about it” and drive the team forward and inspire those around him.
Fingers crossed for a new well deserved contract being signed.