KENNY Miller fears Rangers’ promotion hopes could be derailed by their rollercoaster run of form.
The Ibrox side suffered the first defeat of new boss Stuart McCall’s six-game reign on Thursday night as they slumped 3-0 at Queen of the South.
It was an especially flat display after the high of recent Championship victories over Hearts and Hibernian.
Rangers, who remain behind the Easter Road side in third place on goal difference, now have five games left, starting with Raith at Ibrox tomorrow, to leapfrog Hibs and spare themselves the effort of playing two extra ties in the play-offs.
Finish third and they could even be sent back to Palmerston – where they have now lost twice this season – for another testing clash with Queens, provided James Fowler’s side see off Falkirk in the race for fourth.
But the worry for Miller is that Rangers’ lack of consistency could wreck their chance of a Premiership return.
The 35-year-old striker said: “Last night [Thursday] was a reminder that we have not turned the corner and that there’s a lot of hard work still to be done. It was a performance that summed up our season a little bit.
“That ‘consistency’ word has come up a lot this year. We seem to have a couple of good performances and then complacency kicks in and we take our foot of the gas. If we go back three games to the Hibs result, I don’t think anyone could have seen that coming. Fast forward three games and I don’t think anyone could have seen the result coming. We have to nail down that consistency and get to a level of performance we can pretty much guarantee every week.
“Might this inconsistency come back to haunt us in the play-offs? It could do, yes. There is no point winning 1-0 or 2-0 at home and losing 3-0 away – that means you are out. It’s about getting that level and balance right. We need to get back to where we were at against Hibs and in the first half against Hearts, where I thought we were superb.”
Miller is one of 12 players whose contracts expire this summer. But boss McCall – who himself is operating on a short-term deal until the end of the season – is in no position to start handing out new agreements until the club knows which league it will be playing in next season. The manager knows the situation is not ideal but told his players to make the best of it.
“Last night was a reminder that we have not turned the corner and that there’s a lot of hard work still to be done”Kenny Miller
“We won’t know hopefully until 31 May when the play-off final takes place what league we are going to be playing in so that obviously has a knock-on effect on budgets,” said McCall.
“Obviously you want to be organised and have a forward plan of who might be coming in and who might be staying.
“I’ve had agents come to me and I’ve told them I will put it on the backburner if I’m still here or I will pass it on to the club. But there are lots of ifs and buts at this time. The contracts are still there to be earned though, so the players have to keep performing.”
Cammy Bell could return in goal for McCall’s side tomorrow after a knee injury forced him to sit out Thursday’s defeat. Dean Shiels was also rested for the loss at Palmerston but will be considered for a starting role, while teenager Tom Walsh is back in contention after hamstring trouble.
Skipper Lee McCulloch serves the second match of a two-game ban while Seb Faure, Richard Foster, Steven Smith and Jon Daly remain on the sidelines with injured Newcastle loanees Kevin Mbabu, Remie Streete, Gael Bigirimana and Shane Ferguson.
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