Magic of the cup stays strong for Kenny Miller

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KENNY Miller might have scored his first Scottish Cup goals 15 years ago but he can still find the enthusiasm to contemplate a return to the competition with Rangers today at Dumbarton.

Miller was an 18-year-old on loan at Stenhousemuir when he struck twice against East of Scotland league side Whitehill Welfare in January 1999. Now he is contemplating the emergence of 20-year-old Lewis Macleod, whose goal against St Johnstone on Tuesday night sealed Rangers’ place in the League Cup semi-finals.

Rangers ace Kenny Miller is put through his paces at training. Picture: SNS

Rangers ace Kenny Miller is put through his paces at training. Picture: SNS

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But Miller is also desperate for some more glory for himself before hanging up his boots. Rangers are fighting on four fronts as they seek to lift a first major trophy since 2011, and head to Dumbarton today buoyed by the midweek victory over their Premiership opponents.

It is Miller’s first experience of the Scottish Cup since leaving Rangers in 2011 to join Turkish club Bursaspor.

“I think we set our stall out this year that first and foremost is winning the league and getting back to the Premiership,” he said. “But obviously this club is about winning trophies. It would be good to put at least one on the board. We are in two semi-finals already in the League and Petrofac Cups and we have a chance to kick on in the Scottish Cup. We will be looking to get to the latter stages in that as well.”

As a former Celtic player, Miller is particularly relishing the prospect of a semi-final against the Parkhead side, with the League Cup draw due to be made later today. “I’ve been all over the place in my career and people always ask what the Old Firm games are like,” he said.

“When the fixtures used to be drawn up the first one you looked for was the Old Firm game. If it is drawn out of the hat I’m sure it will be a good occasion.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to do well in them. In my last spell here I scored a brace in each of the first two games.”

Whoever Rangers face in the last four, Macleod will be a significant factor in the outcome. Miller hailed his contribution to the Rangers side.

“We all know he is a fantastic footballer,” he said. “I saw it two years ago when I came in here to do a bit of training during the close season of the MLS. He was the first one that caught the eye.”

Rangers manager Ally McCoist will turn to third-choice goalkeeper Lee Robinson again as a replacement for Steve Simonsen, who was carried off on Tuesday after bashing his head against a post.

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