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

I

m concerned as I have swore at football matches and whilst watching football on the TV. Am I also in line for an FA charge?

mufc phil
Wilshere charged by FA

I

m a big Rafa fan, but when he substitutes Ronaldo after 60 minutes of his first game, which Real draw 1-1, I don't see the Real fans being patient. He'll be gone before October is out.

the tree
Rafa quiet on Sterling and De Gea

W

hy no blog? that's my summer ruined. Can someone start a petition on change.org please?

myyoot
The New Dawn Gossip

Footer 365

Benitez emotional at Real unveiling

Rafael Benitez refused to discuss Real Madrid's apparent interest in Raheem Sterling and David de Gea at his Bernabeu unveiling on Wednesday.

Rafa Benitez says he has 'returned home' after being named Real Madrid coach

Rafa Benitez says he has "returned home" after being installed as the new coach of Real Madrid on a three-year contract.

Sepp Blatter receives standing ovation from FIFA staff

Sepp Blatter received a standing ovation on his return to work a day after he announced he would resign as FIFA president.

Mail Box

Does Anybody Care About Russia?

Do any of us really care about the decision to give the 2018 World Cup to Russia? We're not sure anybody does. We have mails on Blatter, Rafa and lots more...

Celebrate Good Times, But Hard Work Starts Now

The Mailbox is joyous over the impending departure of Sepp Blatter, but offers a reminder that problems remain. Plus title winners, CL play-offs and Nigel Adkins...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company