Kenny Miller is a Rangers Legend. He has scored over 100 goals and played nearly 300 games for the club. He has won the league four times including 3-in-a-row between 2008/09 and 2010/11 in the Scottish Premier League and one Scottish Championship title in 2015/16. He has won the Scottish Premier League Golden Boot in 2010/11 despite only playing half a season before being sold to Bursaspor.

He is the consummate professional. Miller’s work rate, fitness, pace, leadership, and determination made him a sought-after striker for teams that played with a solitary striker including the Scotland national team where Miller, time-after-time, ran himself into the ground for the greater good and the team’s cause. These qualities and his selflessness make him a manager’s favourite.


Has he been lucky? In his second spell, yes. He has played up front without the pure expectation of scoring goals – he always had a partner that that responsibility fell to. He also didn’t have the creative responsibility that a number 10 would have because of the wingers, attacking midfielders and central midfielders he played with. In only one season he has finished top goal scorer and won the league the same year – 2010/11 (21 league goals in 18 league games). In this season, he played alongside Nikica Jelavic (16 goals in 23 games), Steven Naismith (11 in 31), Kyle Lafferty (11 in 31) and Vladimir Weiss (4 in 23) in the attacking positions. Jelavic was injured for a large period of the season with ankle ligament damage and only played a couple of games more than Miller scoring 3 goals fewer. There is little doubt Jelavic would have finished top goal scorer had he stayed fit given the form he was in before and after he recovered full fitness. Miller also benefitted early in the season by playing with a player of Jelavic’s quality, Miller’s best goals per game ratio was in the same season he had his finest quality strike partner, hardly coincidence.

During his second spell, he won the SPL three times in a row, in these seasons, Rangers also had Kris Boyd and Nikica Jelavic. Two of the best strikers the club has ever had – but for totally different reasons. Would Rangers have won the league regardless of who played up front with them given the quality of midfield behind them? We’ll never know but I’d say yes. Rangers were blessed to have midfielders of the quality of Pedro Mendes, Steven Davis, Kevin Thomson and of course Barry Ferguson. You will struggle to find four better passers of the ball in recent Rangers history. With stats of 10 goals in 30 games and 18 goals in 33 games he hardly set the world on fire, but his role was that of a second striker with Boyd in 2008 to 2010 and he did finish as second top scorer which becomes a little more respectable. During these years, he did have a reputation as being a 1 goal in 5 chance striker, capable of the spectacular and a brilliant reflex finisher but also hesitant and indecisive if he had time on the ball. But he loved the big occasion. Two goals against Celtic on his second coming did a lot to erase the memory of also playing for them a couple of seasons previously. He could be frustrating, but he could also be a match winner. And that kind of sums up his glorious second spell at the club.

Miller’s return to Ibrox to see Rangers return to the top flight partnered with Kris Boyd in the Championship was a disaster. A total disaster. Between them, they managed 10 league goals in 56 games! Nicky Law, Nicky Clark, and Haris Vuckic all scored more goals than Miller despite starting and playing considerably fewer games. This strike force evidently didn’t have the same quality of supply as in 2008-2011.

The arrival of Mark Warburton and the influx of new, younger attacking players plus a change in attacking style benefitted Miller immensely as he was used to guide and lead the younger group of players. However, this must be measured against the standard of opposition which was still Scotland’s second tier.

Martyn Waghorn shouldered the main goal scoring burden and with players who were all playing below their previous levels, they coasted to the league title. Miller got 14 league goals which is respectable, however, Jason Holt got 10 from midfield, James Tavernier got 10 from right back and Lee Wallace got 7 from left back which puts Miller’s 14 into perspective given the number of chances each player was likely to get. Would Rangers have coasted to the league without Miller, again, we’ll never know but I’m sure they would?

Last season, like 2014/15 in the Championship was a disaster. Player selections, tactics, team performances, individual performances, everything was below the expected levels. Miller won Players’ Player, Supporters’ Player and Goal of the Season. So, he played well and had a great individual season, didn’t he? He played 37 league games and scored 11 goals. Playing either through the middle and supporting Waghorn or Joe Garner from a wide or central position as part of a front three. Miller was a match winner on several occasions last year, he covered every blade of grass on the pitch and showed a level of fitness and pace beyond his 37 years. He showed true leadership as he tried in vain to raise the levels of those around him.

As Rangers struggled for the whole of last season, they continue this pre-season to score goals. Miller has been a match winner v Progres but has also started pretty much every other pre-season game where goals have been sparse. There has been a visible difference in team shape in the last couple of games as the new signings reach fitness. From 4-2-3-1 to a flexible 4-4-2 either asymmetrical or diamond.

Early in pre-season and Europa League Miller could be seen collecting the ball off the back four and defensive midfielders on the half way line or even in his own half. This can’t be tactical, it has surely been a lack of trust or an “I can do it” attitude of trying to do everything on his own which was prevalent last season. Admirable but not beneficial to team shape or performance.

In the last two games, this hasn’t happened. Rangers now have quality central midfielders. Rangers now have quality attacking options. Miller now has more trust in his team mates. Rangers, against Marseille, looked like a new team. Greatly in part because they almost are with six new signings starting in key central areas. With Alves, Dorrans, and Jack we have a leadership group in the centre of the park. Miller no longer needs to be picked for his leadership. Kranjcar is fit and looking sharper every game and Daniel Candeias provided great energy and positivity on the right-hand side (and the early signs of a great relationship with Tavernier). Miller no longer needs to be picked in a wide area. Eduardo Herrera led the line perfectly, a constant threat, great interplay and determination to get onto crosses – Rangers have found a centre forward. Does Miller score enough goals to play with Herrera, no. Does he create enough chances to play wide or in a number 10 role, no. Miller took up a lot of great positions against Marseille and did very little, his organisation and leadership were as always excellent but now Rangers need more. More that Miller doesn’t have.

He is now the odd man out. If Jamie Walker/Steven Naismith does sign (which looks likely), with Carlos Pena on the bench and Alfredo Morelos impressing in his cameo v Marseille, Miller’s time has surely come. He wasn’t the hero we wanted, but he was the hero we had.