Rangers need big-game specialist Kenny Miller for Sunday’s Betfred Cup semi-final against Motherwell, his team-mate Bruno Alves believes.
The defender reports that the veteran striker, who has been out in the cold since last month’s 2-0 defeat by Celtic, has been flying in training this week.
Miller and manager Pedro Caixinha fell out after that Old Firm loss and the striker was banished to Brentford to play in a friendly for Rangers’ under-20s.
He was reportedly missing last Friday at Perth as a result of a hamstring injury, but Alves would certainly welcome Miller back as the Ibrox side attempt to reach the 26 November final, where they could face their Glasgow rivals again.
Said Alves: “He (Miller) has trained as normal. He is doing his job like always. He is training very well and is very motivated all the time. Nothing has changed from before.
“These games can be emotional and sometimes you need to let the emotions out and play football.
“We don’t need to motivate Kenny. From what I know of him he motivates himself. He always shows his character in training and in the matches so none of us need to say anything to him. He has been like this in training all this week and we expect it from him because he is always like this.”
Having won league titles in Portugal, Russia and Turkey and played a role in Portugal’s Euro 2016 success, Alves is determined to also be a winner with Rangers.
The 35-year-old said: “It is the most important trophy for me because it is the present. Everything that I won before was important but I want to win now.
“I am always trying to win titles and that was one of the reasons I came here.
“I feel I am bringing something to the club and I want to win something for the club.
“I think it would be special for the players because we have been working very hard since the beginning of the season.”
Sunday’s semi-final has become more important for Alves after missing out on last month’s Old Firm match with a calf injury. He felt helpless as he watched the action on a laptop in Madrid, where he was receiving treatment from Cristiano Ronald’s physiotherapist Joaquim Juan.
He said: “The fixture against Celtic was one of the reasons I came to Rangers. It was an important challenge for me but I need to look forward and be ready for the next derbies.
“I was in therapy in Madrid and I watched the game there on my computer. It was very difficult to watch when you can’t help but at the same time I trust my team-mates and the coach and the work we have been doing.
“We believe what we are doing. We didn’t get the result we wanted but the feeling at the end was that we are strong and can compete.”