KENNY MILLER didn’t ask for it but he’s been given a new identity by the media and supporters.
“The words ‘veteran’ and ‘experienced’ seem to be my new first names,” said the 37-year-old who to be fair runs around like a man 15 years younger, which remarkably makes him the best player at Rangers this season.
It is almost impossible to read an article about Miller without his age being mentioned – including this one – and while that’s understandable it does annoy the old fella who has no plans to hang up the boots any time soon.
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“It is a little bit irritating,” Miller said about people going on about his vintage. “I appreciate you are coming to the end of your career at this stage but I want to be judged on what I’m bringing to the team and on my performances on a Saturday.
“People talk about your experience and looking after yourself off the field, but that’s part and parcel of getting to this stage of your career and having a knowledge and understanding of what the club is about. But, as I say, I want to be judged on performances. I feel I’ve been pretty consistent this season.
“Would I have liked to have played even better and have scored more goals? Of course I would. I would love to be sitting with 15 goals at this point of the season but so far I’ve got nine. There’s no reason it can’t happen between now and the end of the season. I’m sure with the new manager; we will be working very hard to achieve the goals he has already spoken about.”
There is little to suggest Miller should quit because he’s been terrific this season. Whether it will be at Rangers is still to be decided; if he does leave, and Neil Lennon is said to be monitoring things, then whoever lands him will get a fine footballer.
“Loads of guys have played into their forties, some of them at an incredible level,” said Miller. “Ryan Giggs did it until he was 41 at the elite level, albeit he never played as many games as he did when he was in his 30s. But he was still contributing massively to a huge club at the top level.
“So I don’t see any reason why I can’t keep playing for another few years. But when you get to my age, it’s a case of ‘he played well, but he’s 37’. Age is just a number to me. I say I can play on for another two years and that’s realistic in my mind – as long as I’m performing and contributing. I’ll know when I’m not, I won’t need to be told. But I still want to play, because you’re a long time retired.”
Miller described the first few days of the Pedro Caixinha era at the club as “all good” and he was heartened to hear his new manager talk about winning the Scottish Cup and finishing second.
There will be none of that bedding in nonsense for the Portuguese, “I don’t think anyone that was coming in would be able to have a free shot for the next few months considering the position we’re in at this moment,” said Miller. “The semi-final of the Scottish Cup is obviously a huge opportunity for us to win a trophy and finish the season on a real high.
“We’ve still got the capabilities of finishing second if we go on a run.
“If we can get to grips with what the manager wants quickly then there is no reason why we can’t achieve that as well.”
A home game against Hamilton might be literally in the same league but it’s a different world to an away Old Firm game. Miller was one of his side’s best performers last Sunday but while he was happy with the draw, he isn’t having it that the Rangers players acted as if they had won a cup final. “I didn’t feel we celebrated,” he said: “We went to our fans and applauded them for their fantastic support through what’s been a tough season so far. “Ultimately it was a positive result considering we got an equaliser in the last three or four minutes of the game.”