UCL Play-Offs: Karagandy Slaughters Sheep for Ritual Ahead of Celtic Clash.

Celtic travels to Astana to face Shakhter Karagandy in the Champions League play-offs later today (Tuesday) (1600GMT.)

Efe Ambrose is Part of Coach Neil Lennon's Squad to Kazakhstan.
Efe Ambrose is Part of Coach Neil Lennon’s Squad to Kazakhstan.

Karagandy are looking to take a step closer to becoming the first team from the former Soviet republic to reach the Champions League proper.

Hoops boss Neil Lennon has admitted the first leg away tie is a logistical “nightmare” for the Scottish champions, who will have endured an 8,000 mile roundtrip by the time they arrive back in Glasgow.

“The draw is a bit of an unknown one for us. Logistically it will be a nightmare in terms of travelling,” Lennon said.

According to the Irish Times, Celtic’s culture clash with Karagandy was highlighted further when the manager was asked about sacrificing sheep ahead of the match.

Hours before Celtic arrived at the Astana Arena for a training session on the plastic pitch, the Kazakhstan side had again slaughtered a sheep in order to bring them good luck.

The sacrifice took place at a tunnel in the corner of the stadium before Shakhter players were put through their paces by their 50-year-old coach Viktor Kumykov, who was later coy about the “tradition.”

Lennon was asked about the home side’s pre-match ritual at his news conference and said:

“You have to respect that. It is a different culture. Players have their own superstitions. We have a very diverse group of players from different parts of the world, different religions and you respect that.”

The other play-off matches of the day will have Lyon host Spain’s Real Sociedad while AC Milan are away at Eindhoven.


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