Rangers manager Mark Warburton paid tribute to ageless striker Kenny Miller after his 100th goal in three spells for the club secured a 1-0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
The result means Rangers go into next weekend’s League Cup semi-final clash with Celtic with more confidence than expected in the direct aftermath of the recent 5-1 league thrashing from their rivals.
But Warburton wanted to focus on Miller. The 36-year-old striker scored a superb volley midway through the first-half to give Rangers all three points and secure back-to-back league victories for only the second time this season.
Miller struck his first goal for the club in August 2000, in a 4-2 away win over Kilmarnock. “To get 100 goals for one club, it is something special,” he said last night. “But the personal accolades are secondary to the three points.”
Warburton was more effusive, saying: “Kenny, how he trains, how he conducts himself, how he looks after himself – it’s first class.
“His mentoring role to the younger players, on and off the pitch, and the respect he has in the dressing room, it’s very important. People like Kenny, Lee [Wallace], Niko [Kranjcar] and a few others, they have a key role to play.
“Kenny knows what we think of him and how much we appreciate his contribution. He’s played another 90 minutes tonight, which tells you all you need to know.”
Miller’s continued high level of contribution is in stark contrast to the situation the club finds itself in with Joey Barton, whose experience was supposed to be invaluable this season. Last night was the fifth game he has sat out as he continues to serve a club-imposed suspension after criticism of team-mates following the heavy loss to their Old Firm rivals.
Miller, who turns 37 in December, looked as sharp as ever last night. Asked how long the striker can play on for, Warburton replied: “Ask Davie Weir.” The Rangers assistant manager played at the club until he was 41. On the evidence of last night, Miller can do something similar.
“The fact is he looks after himself,” added Warburton. “What he eats, how he trains, the intensity he works at – he deserves it.”
Inverness manager Richie Foran, given the manager of the month award for September earlier this week, felt his side deserved a draw of the points. They might have got one had striker Lonsana Doumbaya had scored with a header after ten minutes.
“It wasn’t our night,” said Foran. “But on chances alone, we deserved at least a point.”