Shakhter Karagandy manager, Viktor Kumykov, spoke to the media yesterday, and again this morning, ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League play-off first leg game against Celtic.
“Some of the players who played on Friday night will not make the starting line-up against Celtic but we have a limited squad so I cannot rotate too much.
“Celtic have a high calibre across their squad of around 20 players, they can rotate players without dropping standards. Whoever we face will be difficult.
“Their most dangerous players are the striker Samaras and wingers Forrest and Commons.
“We will attack but we will keep things tight at the back. The most important thing about a home game is not to concede. Celtic are a quality team but we are going to stand up to them with our best game. We have our plans.
“I said a few times that it’s going to be tough game for us. We are new in the Champions League, Celtic have lots of experience in games in Europe, they even won this tournament. But this does not mean that we are going to be taking a beating. We will do our best, will give our full strength to achieve a good result.
“We watched Celtic in last season’s Champions League, and against Liverpool. They are stronger than us but football is a game where the strongest don’t always win. They play a physical game, it will be hard playing against them.
“Unfortunately Toktar Schangyalyschbai and Mikhail Lunin will both miss the game through injury.
“We would like a full stadium, the crowd is going to be an important factor for us.
“We have achieved our main target, Europa League qualification, so the pressure is off us. We can take a risk in our play.”
Captain, Andrey Finonchenko, added, “Our dreams started with the games against BATE, few imagined we could beat them. The results against BATE and Skernderbeu have given us faith. We will do our best tomorrow.”
Stories of the ritualistic slaughter of a ram inside the Astana Arena this morning are true. No medieval stone unturned.
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