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Champions League qualification likely without Rangers distraction - Celtic's Ledley

Joe Ledley feels Celtic will be able to throw all their energies into qualifying for the Champions League next season.

The Hoops will play qualifiers for the chance to compete in Europe's premier club competition later this month and Welsh winger Ledley is of the belief that without Glasgow rivals Rangers in the Scottish Premier League next term, it could make life easier away from the domestic scene.

"This time we have the chance to qualify for the Champions League and that's a massive incentive after the loss of Rangers from our domestic competition," he told the Daily Record.

"The first qualifying tie has yet to be drawn but it will come before we've kicked a ball in the SPL and that's why our fitness levels have to be even better than they were last season.

"It's been four years since Celtic last made it to the group stages of the Champions League so that's a big incentive in itself."

And Ledley suggests that Celtic's performances against eventual winners Atletico Madrid, Italians Udinese and French side Rennes in the group stage of the Europa League last season puts them in good stead.

"Now we're in a business where anything can happen on a round-by-round basis. I believe all of us gained from the experience of playing in that group," he added.

"I mean, Atletico Madrid went on to win the competition and we ran them close at Celtic Park. And we didn't lose to the Italians or the French either home or away."

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