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

was there, it was embarrassing - the team looked totally unbalanced from the off, the defence was woeful and when Mikel came off injured it got even worse with nobody in front of them. Up front on several occasions we had opportunities and nobody would shoot - it was a complete farse! On the back of Salah's performance I'm glad there is talk of getting shot...

Fly1ngh1gh
Cup defeat shames Mourinho

G

reat to see Tommy Rosicky getting some love. A wonderful player. Such a pity we lost so long to injury. I was so excited when we signed him, this resurgence only makes the absences seem more of a lost opportunity.

cheshire-gooner
16 Conclusions: FA Cup Fourth Round Weekend

A

pparently Chiles has blamed Twitter trolls for his exit. Proof that even the worst things can get great results at times.

cheshire-gooner
Adrian Chiles to leave ITV

Footer 365

Manchester United U21s beat Liverpool 2-1 as Victor Valdes makes first appearance for the club

Goals from Nick Powell and Paddy McNair gave Manchester United's U21 side victory over Liverpool at Leigh Sports Village.

FA Cup: Giant-killers Bradford handed Sunderland or Fulham showdown in fifth round

Bradford's reward for knocking Chelsea out of the FA Cup is a fifth-round showdown with either Sunderland or Fulham.

Dutch FA president Michael van Praag to challenge Sepp Blatter for FIFA top job

Dutch FA president Michael van Praag is to stand against Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency.

Mail Box

You're Man Utd, For Crying Out Loud!

Defending a 0-0 draw with Cambridge on the grounds that other teams lost to lower-league opposition is not befitting of Man United. We're inclined to agree with Mailboxers...

A Massive Mailbox On A Weekend Of Wonder

We unsurprisingly have plenty of mails on a wonderful FA Cup weekend, including thoughts on Palace, Van Gaal, Phil Jones, Chelsea, Mourinho and Yaya Toure...

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