Sheep-sacrificing ritual will continue say Shakhter Karagandy ahead of Celtic tie

The Kazakh side won the first leg 2-0

Shakhter Karagandy boss Viktor Kumykov plans to continue the Kazakh club's sheep-sacrificing ritual ahead of their Champions League play-off second-leg tie against Celtic at Parkhead.

The Kazakh champions caused a stir when they killed a sheep at the Astana Arena the day before last Tuesday night's 2-0 first-leg win over the Hoops.

Animal rights group PETA expressed their outrage in a strongly-worded letter to UEFA president urging Michel Platini to punish Shakhter.

Kumykov's pre-match press conference at Celtic Park on Tuesday afternoon took a surreal turn when the subject was broached.

Speaking through an interpreter, the Russian said: "All I can say is that every team and every club has its own pre-match traditions and rituals.

"Celtic must have their own. We will try to respect our traditions and those traditions have been in place even before we came to the club."

Asked if the ritual would take place, he replied,"Possibly, yes."

Then, when asked where he planned to get the sheep, Kumykov, to laughter, replied: "As far as we know in Scotland the agriculture is very developed so it shouldn't be an issue to find a sheep."

The Shakhter boss, though, played down the effects the pre-match ritual had had on the first game in Kazakhstan.

He said: "Of course this tradition may have certain psychological impact on players that can help them to relax before the game.

"But obviously, what really matters is on the football pitch, the game and the final score and you know we scored twice in the first-leg and Celtic failed to score, that's what really matters."

PA

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