'Magic' Gareth Bale is definitely no penalty cheat, insists Joe Ledley
JOE Ledley has dismissed suggestions Gareth Bale is a diver after the Spurs winger helped revive Wales's World Cup qualification bid.
Wales head to Croatia for tomorrow's Group A clash fresh from recording their first victory of the campaign at home to Scotland.
Bale was the match-winner at the Cardiff City Stadium as he scored twice for Chris Coleman's side, who came from a goal behind to secure a dramatic last-gasp victory.
The Southampton product tormented Scotland throughout with his pace and direct running.
He won and converted a penalty to pull Wales level before smashing home a sensational long-range winner with just over a minute of normal time remaining.
But there was a dispute over the penalty, with some suggesting Bale had gone down too easily under the challenge of Shaun Maloney.
That came just a week after Bale was shown to have tumbled under the challenge of Aston Villa keeper Brad Guzan, even though the American was nowhere near making contact with him.
"He's definitely not a diver," said Ledley.
"I grew up with him playing and he definitely isn't that kind of player.
"The sort of magic Gareth's got can kill any team off and we're lucky to have him.
"That's what he showed on Friday."
Aaron Ramsey had another penalty claim waved away, while substitute Craig Davies also tumbled in the area.
Joe Allen and Ramsey had earlier chances to open Wales's Group A account, but the best fell to Steve Morison, who headed wide in the first half.
"We had chances, we thought we might have had two penalties as well," said Ledley.
"But we defended well and attacked them as a team and on another day we could have scored more.
"When Steve missed a chance in the first half, you start wondering if it's going to be one of those days. But we had a bit of luck with the penalty. We played well as a team, we have been unlucky lately and I thought we deserved to win in the end.
"We worked hard all week, we played well as a unit and we're happy with the result."
The result lifts some of the pressure that had been mounting on Coleman after his reign as manager began with no goals and four straight defeats.
But Wales cannot bask in Friday's victory for long as tomorrow they face a side who are yet to lose any of their three qualifiers and sit joint top of the pool.
"We're all behind Chris and this squad meeting has been fantastic," added Ledley.
"We've just been enjoying football and playing the way we want to play.
"There hasn't been too much work on tactics and it's all worked out for us."
Ramsey will miss tomorrow's game as he sits out a one-match suspension. Dave Edwards of Wolves has been called into the squad to replace him.