Riga have suffered a massive blow heading into their Europa League qualifier against Celtic, who will be desperate to qualify for Europe.
Celtic suffered a massive blow at the start of the season when they crashed out of UEFA Champions League qualifiers for the third straight season. Of course, that is unacceptable for a club the size of the Hoops. It is undeniable though that the biggest target this season is securing their 10th straight Scottish league title, something that has never been achieved.
Regardless, the club will be desperate to qualify for the Europa League at least now. The financial ramifications of failing to do so are huge, especially in a season where clubs around the world are losing money as a result of the global pandemic.
After crashing out of the Champions League qualifiers after a 2-1 defeat at home at the hands of Ferencvaros in the second round, Celtic will take on Riga in the third round of the Europa League qualifiers. Neil Lennon’s men will be travelling to Latvia for their clash on Thursday.
The Hoops have been handed a massive boost ahead of the game though as it looks like that the Latvian club could be without their manager when the Scottish champions come visiting. As reported by The Dugout, Oleg Kononov has left for Russia for ‘personal reasons’ and might not be back in time according to a club statement:
“We are waiting for the return of Oleg Kononov when it is possible for him to come back.
“Until then, the team will be coached by Mihals Konevs instead.”
Riga have been impressive this season, winning 17 of their 19 league games and currently sit at the top of the Latvian league. Even then though, Celtic should have more than enough in the tank to get the job done. Of course, you never know with this team in Europe though as they are capable of losing against teams that they should be destroying.
We do not know about the nature of the ‘personal issues’ that the Riga boss is going through though and we will be hoping that he is able to sort them out as soon as possible.