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

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Footer 365

Transfer Deadline Day: Hull City splash out but Radamel Falcao move to Manchester United makes headlines

Hull were the most active club on deadline day but it was Man Utd's signing of Radamel Falcao which grabbed headlines.

Transfer news: Radamel Falcao joins Manchester United on loan

Manchester United have signed Monaco striker Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan with an option to buy.

Transfer news: Hatem Ben Arfa leaves it late to join Hull City on loan

Hull City have signed midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa on a season-long loan from Premier League rivals Newcastle.

Mail Box

It's That Time Again: 'Wenger Out'

Are Arsenal fans the ficklest in the Premier League? That's one question in the mailbox as Gooners call for Wenger to leave (again). Plus, plenty of reaction to Falcao...

Wenger: The Most Stubborn Manager Going

Arsenal fans would quite like their club to sign a striker thank you very much, whilst someone is excited about Jim White et al. Plus, Klose to Arsenal please...

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