Kenny Miller has branded his treatment by former Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha as “malicious” and admits he feared it might have forced him to leave the Ibrox club.
Speaking for the first time about his banishment from the first team squad by Caixinha, amid insinuations he was leaking information from inside the Rangers dressing-room, veteran striker Miller has expressed his frustration at what he saw as an attempt to tarnish his reputation.
The 37-year-old was dropped from the first team squad at the end of September by Caixinha, for reasons the Portuguese coach refused to clarify, and missed four matches.
When Caixinha was sacked five weeks ago, Miller was immediately recalled to the first team by stand-in boss Graeme Murty and scored twice on his return in a 3-1 win over Hearts at BT Murrayfield.
“Listen, I’ve not spoken about it publicly and I’m not going to go into any detail right now,” said Miller.
“All I’ll say is that it was really frustrating around that time because of everything surrounding the issue – which, by the way, was an absolute load of nonsense, what was going on.
“Whether there were other agendas going on behind the scenes, that’s something I don’t know. But there is only one man who could have answered the question – and cleared things up – and that wasn’t me. Were there other agendas going on about why these things happened? I don’t know.
“But all I can say is that there were absolutely malicious things going about. It was nonsense and defamatory towards me and my character.
“I came into work every day because there was nothing else I could do about it effectively. There was just a lot of stuff going on – a lot of stuff – that was utter nonsense. But that was that. There was only one man who could have cleared it all up but I’m not going to go into specifics on that. But why it happened, I don’t know. It was never ever clarified.
“Of course there was a time when [I thought it was finished for me here]. You don’t know the way it’s going to go when you’re training hard as always, but not playing every week.
“It’s tough when you’ve not got the game at the end of the week. But these things happen in football. It’s about keeping the standards you set yourself. I trained every day. If I’m not going to play then I’m not going to play but that’s up to the manager in charge.
“It’s hard, it really is hard, and that can affect people in different ways. You know, I might have acted differently to that situation ten years ago. But when you have a wee bit of experience you think more and the only way you’re ever going to get back in is by doing the work out on the training pitch. That’s the kind of mentality I think you’ve got to have.”
The biggest test of Miller’s mental resilience during that period came when he was ordered by Caixinha to play for the Rangers under-20 side in a friendly against Brentford in London shortly after being dropped from the first team squad.
“I enjoyed the day, actually,” he reflected. “I had worked with the young boys for a few years so it was good to get a game with them.
“Listen, it wasn’t ideal, but it was a game of football. You can’t go down there and put the tools away or throw the dummy out the pram. Straight away that’s a negative against you. But I honestly enjoyed the game and the work out with the young boys.”
Miller experienced a feeling of helplessness about his situation until it was effectively resolved in his favour by Rangers’ decision to sack Caixinha.
“There was nothing I could really do about it, that was the problem,” he added. “You have to accept the decisions whether you agree with them or disagree with them. There is always a manager, there’s always someone in charge, and they’re going to live or die by their decisions. Ultimately, that’s what happened.”