Comebaaaack: Celtic Stun Sheep Killers to Advance in Champions League
Scottish club Celtic surged through to the group stage of Champions League today with a dramatic 92nd minute winner and 3-2 aggregate victory over Kazakh champs Shakhter Karagandy at Parkhead.
And while the win provoked scenes of jubilation throughout Glasgow's east end, their celebration was a solemn wake compared to the party thrown by the livestock of Europe.
Prior to the first leg of the tie, Shakhter honoured cultural tradition and caused groundskeeper resignation by sacrificing a sheep at their home field, Astana Arena. The slaying prompted animal rights group PETA to pen an eviscerating letter to UEFA, but proved the difference-maker in a 2-0 triumph to the local butchers.
A bonus sheep-shivving was floated for the second leg; Shakhter coach and Masterchef wannabe, Viktor Kumykov, felt the ritual could take place despite being on foreign, non-pagan soil:
"As far as we know in Scotland, the agriculture is very developed so it shouldn't be an issue to find a sheep."
"[The] 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."
Wrong, Coach. What mattered was offing another woolly virgin. The sacrifice never happened pre-Parkhead, the Shakhter players looked about as relaxed as a Borat interviewee, and Celtic hero James Forrest condemned the Kazakh side to the Champions League slaughterhouse.