ALAN Power, the Kilmarnock midfielder, has dismissed claims Scott Brown, the Celtic captain, is no longer the force he once was and predicted he will be as formidable an opponent as always if he plays at Parkhead today.

Brown, who turned 35 in the summer, has been substituted regularly by Neil Lennon in the 2020/21 campaign and was left out altogether by his manager in the Europa League game against Lille on Thursday evening.

Some fans of the Glasgow club feel their skipper has been partially to blame for their disappointing run of results – they had won just two of their previous 12 fixtures before the Lille match – in recent weeks and want to see either Ismaila Soro or David Turnbull given an extended run.

However, Power, the Irish ball winner who has been involved in many ferocious duels with the Scot during his three-and-a-half years in this country, suspects he will be in for a difficult 90 minutes if his old rival is selected once again this afternoon.

"I think Scott's the same player,” he said. “He controls games well and gets about the pitch. He looks after himself, he's a good pro. I still think he's someone Celtic look to, especially during this period. That's a big credit to him. He's obviously going about his business in the right way.

"You can have ups and downs in football. He's not going to play well in every game, but that's when you need other people to step up. That's what makes a good team. For the likes of us, there are no standout individuals. But if we all put a shift in, we can be a good team.

"I don't think anything of the battles with Scott Brown. I treat him the same way as I do with everyone else. I am not going to shy away from tackling anyone.

"I don't think anybody in our team would, whether it's Scott Brown or another Celtic player. I know a lot is made of it when two midfielders clash, but I get a lot of stick no matter who I tackle?”

Power added: "The Celtic midfield possibly been more unsettled than usual, but they have had injuries and the Covid cases. That has been the same for all of us, and you need to chop and change.

“But Celtic have the squad to cope with it. They are going through a little phase and that's it. It happens to all teams, from Kilmarnock to Celtic. We all go through a sticky patch - and hopefully Celtic are still in it this weekend!

"They have made changes and I think their manager is trying to find a way for it to click together. It's been the same for us. When things aren't working, you chop and change. That's how football works and it can maybe give other players a rocket.”

New Kilmarnock signing Nicke Kabamba gave the Celtic defence, who have conceded 30 goals in their last 13 matches, a torrid afternoon at Rugby Park back in August and helped the Ayrshire club draw 1-1.

Power is hoping the 6ft 3in English forward, who has scored five times in his last 11 games, can cause their hosts the same sort of problems at Parkhead today and help the visitors get another result.

“I don’t think a lot of people knew about Nicke and what he was capable of then,” he said. “He came from National League. I think he was probably unheard of and he put in a performance like he did that day. Hopefully he spooked him.

“He is capable of doing that against any centre half. We just want him to be doing that week in, week out, for us. He can change up his game as well. He has got tricks up his sleeve us well. He isn’t just a ball winning in the air type of striker. He is good with his feet. He is getting a few more goals now. We will see where it takes us.”