5 things you may not know about Celtic’s opponents FK Qarabag


Celtic’s European programme continues to come thick and fast this week with a visit of Azerbaijani champions FK Qarabag next on their agenda.

The Bhoys are 2/5 for an expected victory, while their eastern European foes are 7/1 for an upset.

We can expect Ronny Deila and his coaching network will be well up to scratch on the ins and outs of their opponent’s possible tactics, but there are plenty of things they might not know about their counterparts on Wednesday.

Here are five things the Norwegian might not know about the opposition…

They are called FK Qarabag (at the moment)…

It must be a nightmare for the people that have to redesign the club badge, but the club have a penchant for a name change.

In their 64 year history, supporters have cheered six different team names from the terraces. From the original FK Qarabag in 1951, they became Mehsul in 1966 and Shafaq in 1977.

Between the period of 1982-87 they operated under the name “Co-operative Society” (in Azerbajani we assume), before a switch to Qarabag-Azersun in 2002 and a return to their original title two years later.

Their boss is a national treasure…

No one comes close in Azerbaijani football management than current head coach Gurban Gurbanov when European football is concerned.

In leading the side to at least the third qualifying round in European competition for the last five seasons, he is the most successful gaffer from his nation in Europe with 21 wins at the helm.


They have a multi-talented defence…

Centre-back and captain Rashad Sadygov has featured nearly 200 times for his current outfit, but he hasn’t always earned his crust with the ball at his feet.

In 2006 when attempting to join Neftchi Bako, he missed the signing window and was left without a club. Instead of swanning off to the nearest Caspian Sea beach hotspot to sun himself, he signed up with local basketball side BK NTD for a spell on the court.


Their new striker has huge pedigree…

Rydell Pepeon has joined The Horsemen this summer and will be looking to have an immediate impact at Tofiq Bahramov Stadium, having delivered a solid goal-scoring record in France and Holland.

His youth career started off in excellent fashion, playing alongside the likes of Daley Blind, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld to help Ajax Youth to consecutive titles in 2005 and 2006.

…and his support network is well related

Looking to supply Popeon with plenty of chances will be the one and only Chumbinho. No? You know….Marinaldo Cicero da Silva….OK, Robinho’s brother.

The Brazilian doesn’t possess quite the goalscoring prowess as his elder brother with 27 goals in 173 career appearances. Filled with trickery though, he could keep Virgil van Dijk and Co busy.


Ladbrokes will boost the price on Celtic to win and both teams to score from 11/4 to 7/2 at 8am on Wednesday.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.