Kenny Miller bids to become Rangers’ next goal centurion

Kenny Miller celebrates his winning goal against Motherwell last Saturday. Picture: SNS

Kenny Miller celebrates his winning goal against Motherwell last Saturday. Picture: SNS

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The century had just turned when Kenny Miller scored his first Rangers goal as a fresh-faced youngster in a 4-2 victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park with a typical predatory finish.

On Friday night, the veteran striker is returning to the same venue seeking to turn the century by reaching the significant milestone of 100 goals for the Ibrox men.

Kenny Miller slots the ball past goalkeeper Derek Scrimgour for the fourth of his five goals in a 7-1 victory over St Mirren. Picture: SNS

Kenny Miller slots the ball past goalkeeper Derek Scrimgour for the fourth of his five goals in a 7-1 victory over St Mirren. Picture: SNS

The 36-year-old will join such greats as Ally McCoist, Derek Johnstone, Mark Hateley, John Greig and Ralph Brand who are among 16 men who have achieved this feat since the Second World War.

However, more importantly Rangers crave a victory that will mean they will go into the first Old Firm game of the season on 10 September ahead of Celtic on points.

As a result of Celtic’s match against Partick Thistle being postponed due to their involvement in the Intercontinental Champions Cup and the impeding international break, Rangers will go to Parkhead at least one point ahead if they can defeat Lee Clark’s side.

Former Rangers striker Mark Hateley said: “To score 100 goals at any club is very hard so it’s going to be a great milestone for Kenny.

“Not that many reach that target these days because players don’t tend to stay at clubs for very long.

“We have seen in the last two games that there are still goals in Kenny. There he was last Saturday still going strong in injury time at the age of 36 to score the winner.

“Whether Kenny starts, comes on or even if he doesn’t play he can still have a big influence on the club in the dressing room.

“There is more competition now with the arrivals of Joe Garner and Joe Dodoo so Mark now has four strikers to choose from with Martyn Waghorn on the way back.

“It’s been a while since the club has had that healthy competition up front and that’s what keeps people focused and on their toes.

“Kenny will rise to that challenge. He will want to play every game and while he may play less than he did last year he will still have a massive role to play.”

Miller, who quirkily claimed his first Rangers goal on 
5 August, 2000 in that 4-2 win at Kilmarnock, has been vital in each of the last two Rangers performances which have been almost as stressful as the opening-day draw with 
Hamilton.

Having had to come from behind to secure a draw with Accies, they had to hold for on for a 2-1 victory over Dundee when they should have been out of sight and needed Miller’s late winner to overcome Motherwell 2-1 last Saturday

Hateley knows they need to click into gear quickly and find a more consistent rhythm as Celtic are a more formidable force this season following the appointment of Brendan Rodgers as manager. He said: “It’s game on in the Premiership. Rangers drew their first game of the season and everyone started saying that they couldn’t afford to drop any more.

“Celtic are very strong this year – far stronger than last year as they have a better manager in charge.

“They are the team to catch and the only way to do that is by winning games, so the pressure is on.

“Rangers need to win in Kilmarnock to exert a little bit of pressure on Celtic who 
face Aberdeen the following day.

“But more importantly, it will mean they will go into the Old Firm game at Parkhead with a lead and that is a great confidence booster.”

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