Celtic v Karagandy: Kumykov aims to be trailblazer

Viktor Kumykov: Manager arrives in Glasgow last night. Picture: SNS
Viktor Kumykov: Manager arrives in Glasgow last night. Picture: SNS
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SHAKHTER Karagandy manager Viktor Kumykov admits he is dreaming of creating a footballing legacy for the people of Kazakhstan by beating Celtic tomorrow evening and reaching the Champions League group stages.

The Miners are in pole position to emerge as winners from the play-off round ahead of tomorrow evening’s second leg encounter at Parkhead after shocking Neil Lennon’s team with a 2-0 win in Astana last Tuesday.

Kumykov’s side are bidding to make history by becoming the first club from Kazakhstan to reach the lucrative group stages of Europe’s elite competition.

The Russian, who has already guided Shakhter to aggregate wins over Belarusian outfit BATE Borisov and Albania’s KS Skenderbeu, insists that dumping Lennon’s men out of the Champions League would have a lasting effect in Kazakhstan.

Kumykov, whose team flew into Glasgow yesterday, said: “It would be considered a huge and fantastic advancement. First of all for Kazakh football, it will be testimony that it is developing in the right direction.

“For our club, Shakhter, it will also be a great success for moving forward in Europe and we believe it will be Shakhter’s good contribution in the development of Kazakh football.

“Certainly it will be a great success for Kazakhstan to have the opportunity to play with the best European clubs in the Champions League. It would be progress in football and stimulate progress in football.

“Shakhter is one of the oldest and most popular clubs in Kazakhstan.

“Local and regional residents support the club and like the team. They celebrate the successes of the team with pleasure and our every success, both in domestic tournaments and in Europe, is hugely welcomed.

“This evokes great enthusiasm from the local residents.”