Alan Power admits he is loving being back at the club that ‘brought the best out of me’ as Kilmarnock prepare to kick-off their Premier Sports Cup campaign on Saturday.
The 34-year-old Irish midfielder spent four years at Rugby Park before leaving for St Mirren in 2021 after the Ayrshire club was relegated.
However, following Killie’s promotion back to the top flight, Power has returned to the club as Derek McInnes’ first summer signing on a deal that takes him to 2023.
Kilmarnock begin their season with a trip to Fraserburgh and Power, keen to stress that Killie’s return to the Premiership did not make a difference to his decision to come back, said: “I am loving it. I never explored other options.
“Killie brought the best out of me. I played my best football at Kilmarnock, it made me change and see the game in a different way.
“Playing in the Premiership brought a lot out of me and I am hoping I can do that again.”
On the opener against Fraserburgh, Power said: “It is always nice to get through pre-season and start playing competitive games again.
“We will go to Fraserburgh and be very professional and hopefully get the job done.”
Lee Johnson’s first game as Hibernian boss sees a home fixture against Clyde at Easter Road and he told Hibs TV that several new signings will be unavailable.
He said: “Unfortunately, we are going into the game without a few players who are still waiting for work permits to be approved.
“Momodou Bojang, Elie Youan and Jair Tavares won’t be available, and Lewis Miller is also 50-50 at the moment.”
Although Youan and Tavares both featured in pre-season games in Portugal, they are unable to play in a competitive fixture until their permits are approved.
But Johnson said: “There are a group of core players that have worked extremely hard and are fit for tomorrow’s game.
“There are a lot of moving parts at the moment but at the same time, everything is formulating quite nicely.
“I am very confident that by the first game of the season we will have plenty of strings to our bow and various different attributes in our team.”
In other ties involving cinch Premiership clubs, St Mirren welcome Arbroath to Paisley, Ross County are away to Buckie Thistle and Livingston travel to Albion Rovers.
John Rankin’s first competitive game as Hamilton boss sees the Lanarkshire club travel to Dundee.
The former Dundee United midfielder told Accies TV: “Obviously pre-season has been tough over the last four weeks and now really excited about Saturday.
“That obviously has been the main focus from the beginning of pre-season so now the competitive football starts, the players are looking forward to it, we can’t wait until Saturday.”
Queen of the South welcome Annan Athletic and home boss Wullie Gibson told the club’s official website: “The boys have worked hard, and it all starts this weekend with a local derby.
“The league must be our priority, but we want to get off to the best possible start and we want to have a cup run.
“Annan have also had a hard a pre-season so they will want the same as us. We want to hit the ground running as winning games builds momentum.
“We haven’t set any targets yet, but the players will go into every game wanting to win, starting tomorrow.”
Elsewhere, Ayr United host Elgin City, Cowdenbeath welcome Airdrieonians and Stirling Albion travel to Dumbarton.
Kelty Hearts host Inverness, Morton take on Falkirk in Greenock while Partick Thistle are at Stenhousemuir and Stranraer at home to Queen’s Park.