Country united against Celtic

Manager Viktor Kumykov claims Shakhter Karagandy will have the whole of Kazakhstan behind his team when they take on Celtic in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League play-off at the Astana Arena on Tuesday night.

Last Updated: 20/08/13 at 15:04 Post Comment

Neil Lennon: Faces a team with support from the whole country

Neil Lennon: Faces a team with support from the whole country

The Kazakh club have moved the match 114 miles away from their own ground to the artificial surface in Astana, looking to take a step closer to becoming the first team from the former Soviet republic to reach the Champions League.

Kumykov claims everyone in the country will put aside their usual allegiances to root for his side in what has turned into something of a national event.

"We believe the supporters are very important in this game," said the Russian.

"We think there will be many supporters there, not only from Karaganda (the main city in Karagandy province) and Astana but from other parts of the country and we believe and hope the whole nation will be behind us."

Shakhter disposed of Belarusian side BATE Borisov in the second qualifying round before knocking out Skenderbeu of Albania.

However, Kumykov claimed his club were only learning the game compared to Celtic, as he analysed his side's chances of making history.

"This game is going to be very difficult for us," he said.

"We are newcomers to the Champions League, Celtic is a very experienced club and are former champions of Europe.

"We are students and they are teachers. Our main task is to obtain the experience of playing in the Champions League and I am hoping we will be able to show our best game.

"We recognise that Celtic are more experienced and stronger than us.

"But football is illogical and you cannot be sure about anything.

"In football, the strongest side does not always win and there are many examples of that, even in the Champions League.

"We have watched all their European games, the game against Aberdeen and the friendly against Liverpool.

"They are a very good side, with very good players.

"Celtic also play aggressively so we expect it to be a very tough game."

Kumykov was less forthcoming when asked to comment on the revelation that the Kazakhstan club had again killed a sheep in order to bring them good luck.

The sacrifice took place at the stadium before the players trained but the Shakhter boss tried to play it down.

"This is a play-off round and we decided not to break this tradition," he said.

"It is quite important for us. I would not like to disclose in detail."

Shakhter Karagandy go into the game on the back of a 2-1 league win over Astana at the same stadium where they will take on the Hoops.

Captain Andrei Finonchenko, who scored the winning goal as a substitute on Saturday, is hoping to take the next step in an unexpected Champions League journey.

"When we played BATE, we did not believe we would reach this stage," he said.

"But after we beat BATE and then Skenderbeu the players became more confident.

"We are highly motivated going into this game and hope to do our best."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

e might be on a hiding to nothing, but I cannae feel any sympathy- You want to know why? Shakira. That's why.

hairpolice
Pique Taking Blame Burden Again...

A

nd this season must feel like one long sigh at the Emirates . Yep, exactly that. Except for Alexis Sanchez, he's ace.

cheshire-gooner
Is Mario Balotelli's Talent Even That 'Obvious'?

H

ey! At least put our first clean sheet in a gazillion years in the winners section. Curse you F365 *shakes fist*

fouloleron
Is Mario Balotelli's Talent Even That 'Obvious'?

Footer 365

Championship Chat: Owner hurting Leeds

James Dixon calls for Leeds owner Massimo Cellino to stop interfering in the club and also blasts the heads of Birmingham and Blackpool.

Transfer News: Hull's Tom Ince joins Nottingham Forest on loan until December 28

Nottingham Forest have signed Tom Ince on loan from Hull City on a deal until December 28.

Blackpool confirm appointment of Lee Clark as manager on rolling contract

Lee Clark has been confirmed as the new manager of Championship club Blackpool on a one-year rolling contract.

Mail Box

Wenger Kept His Pride By Turning Down Cesc

What message would it have sent if Wenger had allowed those that walked out to stroll back in? Plus, why Pochettino needs to adapt and the folly of limiting yourself...

You Can't Laud Rodgers But Lambast AVB

If Rodgers is praised despite Suarez, you can't say AVB only did well through Bale. Plus, a lot more of 2Players1Name, and why Tom Huddlestone set a trend...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property