Charlie Miller recalls Scotland cap against Poles

WHEN Scotland take on ­Poland tonight, Gordon Strachan may consider giving Ryan Gauld or Stevie May their first caps. However, he is unlikely to have seven players pulling on a ­national jersey for the first time.

Charlie Miller turns out for Scotland against Poland in 2001. Picture: SNS

Back in April 2001, the then-Scotland manager Craig Brown handed out debuts to seven players in a 1-1 draw at Bydgoszcz with Charlie Miller, along with John O’Neil and Andy McLaren, making their only appearance for their ­country.

The now 38-year-old Miller remembers the occasion well saying: “I played for the first time and so did John O’Neil, Barry Nicholson, Gavin Rae, Stephen Caldwell and Kenny Miller. I think there must have been an epidemic in Scotland at that time and a lot of players were lost from the squad.

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“I was suspended for a Dundee United game that was ­getting played on the Monday night beforehand and that made my selection easier. Things went all right and I think I played well in the hour I was on for before Stephen replaced me.”

Miller added: “I was enjoying my time at United after a really disappointing spell at Watford. That move just never worked out for a number of reasons but I was playing regularly and that made a huge difference to my game.

“That form got me picked for Scotland and, whilst I am proud of my appearance, I did feel that it was a long time coming. Pulling on a Scotland jersey is an ­experience no-one can forget.”

O’Neil and McLaren never featured again either and Miller reckons he was born too soon to add to his caps. He said: “When I was starting out Scotland had Gary McAllister, Stuart McCall, John Collins, Craig Burley and Paul McStay to choose from. I put getting one cap down to the country having a lot of really good midfielders at that time. That and Berti Vogts.”

Miller, who also played for Rangers, Leicester City, Watford, SK Brann, Lierse, Brisbane Roar, Gold Coast United and Clyde, reckons that Brown’s replacement eight months after the draw in Poland is another factor in his solo Scotland record.

Miller said: “Of course I was disappointed not be involved again, especially as Berti was giving caps out to anyone and ­everyone. Well that is to everyone apart from me. I just ­presume Berti did not fancy me.”

Nothing was ever said to Miller about his non-selection despite Vogts’ seemingly random picks: “I was a stranger to him and he did not have to give me a reason for not picking me. Just because I think I should have been there does not mean Berti should have picked me.

“I was with Scotland at under-18 and under-21 level so it was good to complete the set.”

Miller also thinks it would be different if Strachan was picking squads just over a decade ago: “I reckon that I would have been involved more had Gordon Strachan been in charge. There was a bit of being treated like schoolboys back then and I never liked that. I can’t imagine it being like that under Strachan.

“I like his personality and he has the country playing well again and has us respected. We have beaten Georgia and, whilst it will be difficult in Poland, we have a chance. He has the players playing with a smile and that is the way it should be.”