Celtic’s upcoming Europa League opponents Riga FC could have to play the qualifier without their manager in place.

Oleg Kononov has returned to Russia for family reasons and also missed last week’s clash against Tre Fiori.

A club statement said, as quoted by The Scottish Sun: “We are waiting for the return of Oleg Kononov when it is possible for him to come back.

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“Until then, the team will be coached by Mihals Konevs instead.”

Kononov was appointed in February and has experience of managing in Ukraine and Russia. His most high profile appointment was at Spartak Moscow.

Clearly not having his experience on hand will be a blow, as they rely on Konevs instead.

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Celtic have drawn Riga in Europa League qualifying

Celtic have drawn Riga in Europa League qualifying / (Photo by Harold Cunningham – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

It leaves them in a difficult situation with the visit of Celtic on the horizon, a match we will already be hot favourites for.

 

However, having picked up some impressive victories in Europe last season, Riga can’t be taken for granted, even without their manager.

Konevs has a long association with the club and was actually the man in place last year when beating the likes of Copenhagen and Piast Gliwice.

After last week’s delay of game drama, as well as all this, Riga are coming into Thursday’s match looking messy.

Riga FC celebrate a goal in Europe

Riga FC celebrate a goal in Europe / (Photo by Rafal Rusek/PressFocus/MB Media/Getty Images)

If Neil Lennon’s Bhoys focus on themselves and play to the best of their ability, surely we should have too much for the Latvian champions regardless?

In theory yes, but then we know it’s not always that simple for Celtic away from home in Europe.

Fingers crossed.

In other news, Callum McGregor has disputed Dermot Desmond’s damning Celtic claim.

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