George Miller

Football player and manager

Born: 20 May, 1939, in Larkhall.

Died: 26 December, 2008, in Wishaw, aged 69.

GEORGE Miller first made an impact in football with Larkhall Academy and Royal Albert before starting his senior career with Dunfermline Athletic in July 1959. Within two years, he enjoyed what would be arguably his finest hour in almost three decades in the game. In 1961, he was part of the Dunfermline Athletic side managed by the legendary Jock Stein that lifted the Scottish Cup at Hampden, defeating Celtic 2-0. It was the Fife club's first major honour.

Miller then became a permanent fixture during Dunfermline's European campaigns of the early 1960s, making 13 consecutive appearances and scoring in a 2-0 win against Everton in the 1963-64 Fairs Cup. Representative honours also came his way, for Scotland Under-23s against the British Army in February 1961 and the Scottish League against League of Ireland in September 1964.

His impressive form for Dunfermline soon attracted the attention of several clubs and in October 1964 he moved to Wolves for a fee of 28,500, a phenomenal fee for the era, having played in 236 first-class games for the Fife side, scoring 24 goals. But he did not settle at Molineux and returned to Scotland after 13 months to join Hearts for a fee of 20,000, having played only 37 league games for Wolves, scoring three goals.

The 6ft Miller played half-back at Tynecastle until 1968, making 98 starts and scoring nine goals. During that time he made his second appearance in a Scottish Cup final, but this time on the losing side – ironically, against his old side Dunfermline, who lifted the cup for the second time with a 3-1 win at Hampden in 1968. It was to be one of Miller's last appearances for Hearts, and he started only five more games before he joined Falkirk for a reported fee of 10,000 in November 1968.

This was by now the twilight of his career, but his debut in November 1968 in a 2-2 home draw against Arbroath was the start of an enduring relationship with the Brockville club.

After Falkirk were relegated from the old First Division, the team took the Second Division by storm, and Miller soon became indispensable. He rattled in 14 goals in Falkirk's title-winning season, including a hat-trick against Hamilton in a 6-1 win at Brockville.

His experience was invaluable and his reading of the game exemplary, and he proved an able and inspirational captain.

Perhaps his greatest performance as a "Bairn" was in a second-leg Texaco Cup tie against Coventry City at Highfield Road, where he shackled the Sky Blues' big-money centre forward, Chris Chilton. Falkirk held a slender 1-0 lead from the first leg and defended for all they were worth. Miller marshalled the defence and his performance was outstanding, but the game marked the beginning of the end of his playing career, and after 107 league appearances and 25 goals, he took up his first managerial appointment back at his first club, Dunfermline, in 1972. He remains the last Pars manager to lead his team to victory at Ibrox, in an epic 4-3 win in 1972.

After resigning from Dunfermline in 1975, Miller returned to Falkirk as manager in time for the Brockville club's centenary season in 1976-77, but his spell in charge was not a happy one. Falkirk signed too many fading stars and were relegated.

After leaving Brockville, he ran a couple of betting shops but returned to football as commercial manager at Hamilton Accies, twice stepping in as interim manager, in 1989 and 1990.

He was back at Brockville as commercial manager when his old friend George Fulston was chairman, and once more became a familiar character at the ground with his trade-mark patent shoes and white socks.

Miller was a familiar face at various reunions of that side of the 1970s. He died on Boxing Day in Wishaw Hospital after a long fight with cancer, his wife having predeceased him.

TOM DRYSDALE