SPORT

Shakhter Karagandy Will Not Sacrifice Sheep Before Celtic Tie

28/08/2013 08:43 BST

Shakhter Karagandy have confirmed they will not sacrifice a sheep ahead of their Champions League play-off second leg tie at Celtic on Wednesday night.

The Kazakh champions' pre-match ritual at the Astana Arena the day before last Tuesday's 2-0 first leg win over the Hoops compelled animal rights group PETA to express its outrage in a strongly-worded letter to UEFA president Michel Platini, urging the organisation to punish Shakhter.

Shakhter's manager Viktor Kumykov had suggested at Tuesday's press conference the sacrifice would be repeated, but a Celtic spokesman said: "Clearly this would not happen.

parkhead

There will be no sheep sacrificed at Parkhead

"Shakhter have spoken to the club and said this is a misunderstanding and made it clear they have no intention whatsoever of doing anything like this."

Earlier 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.

shakhter karagandy

Kumykov joked it shouldn't be hard to find a sheep in Scotland

"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."