Kilmarnock star inspired by former childhood friend Conor McGregor

Aberdeen will be up against the fighting Irish when they host Kilmarnock in the quarter-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup tomorrow.

Kilmarnock's Alan Power (right) battles with Hibs midfielder Scott Allan. Picture: SNS
Kilmarnock's Alan Power (right) battles with Hibs midfielder Scott Allan. Picture: SNS

Former Republic of Ireland Under-21 midfielders Alan Power and Gary Dicker plus current Northern Ireland winger Jordan Jones will start for Steve Clarke’s side but it’s Power who will provide most of the feistiness.

He will attempt to emulate the controlled aggression of boyhood friend and inspiration Conor McGregor, the globally famous UFC and MMA champion.

“I grew up with Conor,” said the 30-year-old. “We were in the same friends circle for about two or three years and played for the same Sunday League side, Crumlin United.

“It was our local team and all of us at the same age group played for the same team, which was brilliant as we were all friends.

“There was an A and a B team - I’d say he was B Team but he moved onto boxing and then into UFC. It looks like he chose the right career in the end.

“I still look at him nowadays as a role model, even though he’s a couple of months younger than me.

“The way he goes about his business, his preparation and how he performs on fight night - if I can replicate that when I go on to the pitch, then I’m doing my business properly.

“Unfortunately, we have lost contact, due to all the fame that he gathered and I didn’t!

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“I still send him a message now and again saying we’re all very proud of how he’s doing and I’ll congratulate him when he wins his fights.”

Power will also be competing in the last eight of a national competition for the second successive season after playing for non-league Lincoln City when they faced Arsenal at that stage in the FA Cup 12 months ago.

“Last year’s quarter-final for me was at The Emirates and it was unbelievable,” he said.

“To think we got there with a National League team was a great achievement and I thought, at one stage, that we’d win it. Until the 44th minute, we were level and we were more than in the game.

“Arsenal’s class came through in the end, however, and they beat us 5-0 but it was a magnificent experience.

“I got Mesut Ozil’s shirt afterwards. There was a bit of fighting going on for it after the game but no-one else was taking it.

“He was the closest midfielder I got near that day, so I was lucky enough to get the shirt. There was a belief within the Lincoln side at the time – we won promotion to League Two - and a confidence.

“It’s a bit similar to the way things are at Kilmarnock and we know we’re more than capable of winning the game at Aberdeen.

“Obviously, we’re keeping our heads screwed on as it’s a tough place to go but we owe them one and it would be good to beat them.”