Spartak Moscow have appointed Valery Karpin as caretaker manager. The former Russian international has had an active role in the club since 2008, variously as chief executive and manager. He took control of the first team when he replaced Michael Laudrup in 2009 until Unai Emeri’s appointment this summer when Karpin returned to his executive role.
He is an experienced pair of hands who is likely to stabilise things after the spirit had been drained from the club. Spartak are already out of Europe but will pose no less a threat than Inverness when they arrive at Celtic Park next midweek.
Neil Lennon will not be particularly concerned by the impact of Celtic’s defeat by Inverness on Saturday on the league table but the experience will still be arresting. Celtic have won three of five away games in Europe this season, losing the other two by a single goal, but there is clearly still work to do when faced with a home challenge in the SPL. Valery Karpin will be keen to prove he can exploit this.
Celtic have established credentials in three areas this season: they can defend adroitly when setup to do so, they are a major threat at set-pieces and they are an effective counter-attacking side. Any other attributes remain a matter for conjecture.
The first instruction against Spartak should be ‘stick to what you’re good at’.
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