On Saturday, Kilmarnock will attempt to stop Celtic racking up a 50th consecutive domestic match unbeaten under Brendan Rodgers. The odds are stacked in favour of the Scottish Champions – it’s just over a week since they demolished the same opposition 5-0 in a League Cup tie.
However, one member of Lee McCulloch’s squad is taking inspiration from an old friend. Irish midfielder Alan Power grew up in Dublin playing amateur football alongside a man who’s now a global superstar – Conor McGregor.
“We used to knock about a bit when we were younger, but there has been a few questions asked since I came here,” said Power, who signed from Lincoln City in the summer.
“He’s a phenomenal inspiration in what he’s done and what he’s achieved over the past couple of years, in such a short space of time – and now he’s got a $100m fight coming up on August 26! I’m really looking forward to that as well but I’d like a few wins under our belts at Killie first before I can enjoy that!
“He was good [as a footballer]. We had two sorts of levels when we were growing up, an A team and a B team and he was floating in and around the B team, but probably could have played A if he’d wanted to. He decided to go into boxing and, in the end, I think he probably chose the right path.”
McGregor has been largely written off ahead of his monumental clash with Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas next Saturday, which is shaping up to be the largest pay-per-view event in sports history. There’s no doubt that most of the Rugby Park dressing room will be tuning in.
“I’ve given Conor a shout a couple of times when he’s been winning fights, and he’s yet to message me back,” he said.
“Obviously I don’t expect him to message back but I’ll always tell him I’m really proud of what he’s doing and what he’s achieved and he’s an inspiration.
“He’s a lovely lad. I know he’s got this persona and he’s selling fights with it, but he was a lovely lad growing up, obviously he trained to handle himself and he [has taken] that into his career now.
“Of course he can come and watch Kilmarnock… and he’s invited me over to Vegas! No, I’m just messing. Whenever he wants to pop over to Killie I’ll put him up for a night!”
It’s unlikely that a Celtic defeat on Saturday would generate as many headlines as any Mayweather loss, but if Kilmarnock were to win it would be a huge boost to a squad that’s still finding its feet this season. Consecutive home losses to St Johnstone and Hearts have left them pointless so far, though not without hope.
“We need to get our season going. We have Celtic at the weekend, nothing is expected of us but there’s no pressure on us either, but hopefully if we win that game then hopefully we’ll see the fans flooding back in.
“We just have to be open, excited, play our own game. Maybe other teams have stood off them and gave them too much respect and I don’t think we’ll do that. They want their unbeaten run to keep going, but we want to go out and spoil that party – it’s a free shot for us and we have to enjoy it.”Euro Soccer Bonus
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