Five facts you should know about Astana v Celtic

Astana will square off against Celtic in the Champions League later today. Picture: AFP/Getty

Astana will square off against Celtic in the Champions League later today. Picture: AFP/Getty

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Here’s what you need to know ahead of Celtic’s Champions League tie.

1 Astana are unbeaten in their last seven European ties at home, beating NK Maribor, HJK Helsinki, Apoel and Zalgiris Vilnius and (in the group stage of the Champions League last season) drawing with Benfica, Atletico Madrid and Galatasaray.

2 Formed in 2009 when two other clubs – Almaty Megasport and Alma-Ata – merged, Astana have a Uefa club ranking of 96, 50 places below Celtic. They have won the Kazakhstan Premier League in each of the last two seasons.

3 The Astana Arena has a capacity of just 30,000 but it has a retractable roof.

4 Mikael Lustig, Scott Brown and James Forrest are the only players who played in Celtic’s last visit to Kazakhstan – the 2-0 defeat by Skakhter Karagandy in the first leg of their Champions League play-off three years ago – with a chance of featuring against Astana. Of the others, Kris Commons is unfit and Emilio Izaguirre out of favour, while Fraser Forster, Virgil van Dijk, Charlie Mulgrew, Steven Mouyokolo, Joe Ledley, Georgios Samaras, Amido Balde and Adam Matthews have left the club.

5 The 95F heat may be a problem for Celtic’s players tonight but it could be worse – between December and March, the temperature drops to -31F, making Astana the world’s coldest capital city.

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