Nomme Kalju rest almost entire team ahead of Celtic tie

Roman Kozuhhovski, the manager of Nomme Kalju, has revealed he rested almost his entire team so they could be fresh for playing against Celtic this week.

New Zealand's Max Mata has joined Kalju. Picture: Czarek Sokolowski/AP/Shutterstock

The Baltic minnows could only draw 1-1 at home on Friday night against Paide in the Estonian League, where they are currently languishing in fourth place. It was their last match before facing the Scottish champions in the second qualifying round of the Champions League, with the first leg in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Kalju have made it clear they have prioritised the European clash with Neil Lennon’s side and they are confident they can spring a surprise.

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Kozuhhovski said: “I changed most of the team because they needed freshened up after our game in Macedonia against Shkendija [in the first qualifying round].

“We are in a situation where we have our league season in the middle of Champions League matches and that’s very hard. There was no way I would play the same team here than against Celtic.

“We should have won of course, but I can forgive them because the whole squad is fatigued.

“We have a recovery session and then we will fly to Scotland on Monday.

“A plus point was giving our new signing Max Mata his debut. He is a young and ambitious footballer who adds a variation to our attack.”