Ledley happy with pre-season

Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley believes the club’s settled and fitness-orientated pre-season training programme will stand them in good stead for success, as the Hoops count down to their opening game of the new SPL season against Aberdeen on Saturday (Match Betting – Celtic 1/5, draw 5/1, Aberdeen 9/1).

The demise of Rangers during the close season means Celtic are heavily fancied to defend their title, but manager Neil Lennon says he is taking nothing for granted, and the entire team will enter into new league campaign acutely aware of the threat posed by the rest of the division (Celtic 1/40 to win the SPL title).

They get their European campaign underway this evening when they welcome HJK Helsinki to Celtic Park for the first-leg of their Champions League third round qualifying tie (Match Betting – Celtic 2/5, draw 3/1, HJK 11/2).

And Ledley believes that the club’s hard work during the pre-season will pay dividends once both competitions get underway.

“The pre-season preparation has been brilliant. We really worked hard on our fitness this time around and there hasn’t been much travelling,” said Ledley, who joined Celtic from Cardiff in 2010.

“It has been totally different and our fitness levels are high. Last year was difficult going to Australia as there was a lot of travelling and it took a while to get used to the time difference.”

Celtic last reached the group stages of the Champions League in 2008/09, when they finished bottom of a group containing Manchester United, Villarreal and Aalborg.

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