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Far away

Ever heard of Shakhtar Karagandy? Me neither; for all I knew it might have been a Auld Scots phrase for energetic sex, until Celtic were drawn against them in the Champions’ League play-off round.

Karagandy, it seems, is a province in Kazakhstan, and the team plays in the capital, Karaganda, a city not that much smaller than Glasgow, but in a stadium one third the size of Celtic Park. Shakhtar Karagandy managed to lose to Dublin St Patrick’s in last year’s Euro qualifiers, which in theory indicates that Celtic should be favourites, but they’ve beaten a good side to get this far so should not be under-estimated.

Let’s hope the locals are welcoming to any fans prepared to cross five time zones to get there (and there are bound to be some). However the presence of one Paddy Flynn in the Shakhtar Karagandy squad indicates that there should be at least one person who can show them around.

Categories: Sport
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