Celtic must DITCH captain Scott Brown for this weekend's Scottish Cup Final.

That's the view of ex-Hoops striker Charlie Nicholas who reckons Neil Lennon must ignore his temptation to start the skipper out of loyalty. Brown has missed the past two games against Lille and Kilmarnock and, at 35, Nicholas believes there are now better options in the squad who can provide the energy their skipper cannot offer.

Ismaila Soro has impressed in recent weeks and David Turnbull has been a standout since coming into the fold. And former striker Nicholas is urging Lennon to be brave and keep his newbies in the side to face Hearts this weekend where an historic quadruple Treble is up for grabs.

"I accept Brown is captain and Callum McGregor does not have his personality, but his legs aren't there any more," Nicholas told the Daily Express. "He no longer has a big influence on the team. In the huge games over the last 18 months - Aberdeen and Hibs away, the Old Firm and Euro ties - it's been about his nuisance value, not what he does on the ball. His role diminished when Celtic scrapped Brendan Rodgers' style. He's a spoiler and that carries little relevance.

"He's still a big personality and he always gives 100% - but Celtic are not going to miss him if he doesn't play. He remains a figurehead and should lift the cup - if they win. But Lenny has to go with players in form, like Turnbull, Soro, Hazard and Moi Elyounoussi.

"Everything that's been asked of them, they've done. Would it be a risk too far to play them in a cup final? Definitely not. Do I understand loyalty? Of course. I'd have liked it a bit more as a player. But it's never been the fabric of successful teams. It's the ones who perform who stay.

"I know Hearts are in form but I still expect Celtic to win. And Lenny should continue with his shake-up by going for guys playing without fear.

"Soro, Turnbull and Hazard have given the team energy."