Champions League hopefuls Shakhter Karagandy look poised to defy calls to halt the ritual sacrifice of sheep ahead of the match against Celtic.

Animal rights campaigners at Peta have called on Uefa to ban the ritual slaughter of an animal by the club.

But speaking at press conference ahead of tonight's Champions League play-off, the manager of the Kazakh team said it would "probably" go ahead.

Celtic lost 2-0 to Karagandy last week. A sheep had been sacrified in a corner of the ground before kick-off.

With the second leg taking place at Celtic Park in Glasgow, the visitors were reluctant to halt the practice.

Peta associate director Mimi Bekheci called on Michael Platini, the chief of Uefa, to intervene personally.

In a letter to Platini, he said: "We are deeply disturbed that a sheep was stabbed to death in an attempt to bring good luck to the Kazakh team.

"We hope Mr Platini will agree that animal sacrifice has no place in modern society and we hope Uefa will act swiftly and decisively to ensure that the beautiful game is not further stained with the blood of animals."

Karagandy boss Viktor Kumykov insisted it was a cultural tradition.

He said: "Every team and every club has its own pre-match traditions and rituals.

"Celtic must have their own. We will try to respect our traditions and those traditions have been in place even before we came to the club.

"Of course, this 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."