Having celebrated his 36th birthday earlier this week, Kenny Miller unquestionably merits the epithet of ‘veteran’ being routinely applied to his name.
The Rangers striker would perhaps prefer to consider himself as the footballing equivalent of a vintage car and he believes he has found the perfect analogy for the run of results which has seen the Ibrox club’s lead at the top of the Championship rapidly diminished in recent weeks.
“We have hit a wee bit of a speed bump,” is Miller’s view of the sequence in which Mark Warburton’s side have dropped 10 points in their last six games. Others might describe it as a blip, some less charitably as a slump and there are even those willing to suggest it is approaching the first crisis of Warburton’s tenure.
The reality is that Rangers’ lead over Hibs at the top of the table has been reduced to goal difference only ahead of Monday’s showdown between the teams at Ibrox. Miller, however, remains assured in his belief Rangers can successfully steer a path through whatever obstacles the road to the title puts in front of them between now and May.
“We are fully aware after losing to Falkirk last weekend that it wasn’t good enough and we need to put it right against Hibs on Monday,” said Miller.
“Everyone is bumming it up as such a big game, so if you win one like that against your nearest rivals, then I’d imagine that will be us over the speed bump.
“If we can win this one, then kick on again like we did at the start of the season, then the two wee blips against Morton and Falkirk recently will be forgotten about.
“It’s about finding a way to win the game. Obviously you want to win with a good performance, but it’s about the three points. You can’t expect teams to roll over and let you win three or four nil. It’s not like it was at the start of the season, teams are going to make it harder for us so we have to find a way to win.
“In recent weeks, teams have managed to stifle us more than we would like and we have lost more goals. So it’s about us doing what we’re doing better, making little tweaks to the system to help us do that. The manager is looking at that. We want to reach the standards the manager asks of us, so we want to win it with a fantastic performance and win it well.
“We won’t change anything, the manager has set his stall out on how he wants to play and everyone is buying into it.
“People talk about us having a Plan A and no Plan B, but we have made little tweaks in recent weeks to the way we play. It has worked in some games because we have won and it hasn’t worked so much in other games. So it’s not so much about Plan A and Plan B, it’s about finding a way to win the game of football.
“The manager firmly believes that what he’s telling us to do is the right way for the lads. How we get over the speed bump is by going out and winning on Monday.”
Miller, who began his long career at Hibs, is unmoved by the comments directed at Rangers from his former club, most notably from head coach Alan Stubbs, in recent weeks and dismisses the notion of ‘mind games’ having any significant effect.
“If that’s the way Hibs want to go about their business, then fair enough, but you won’t get any of that coming out of our camp,” said Miller.
“I don’t look at what’s been said and I’m not too interested. I make a point of not looking at it because I don’t believe in the psychological side of it.
“People are saying it’s a psychological battle, but it’s not for me. We are going into a game which I expect us to win. It’s at home, we are Rangers and it’s against Hibs – so we need to win. No matter who we are playing at home, we need to win. So for me it’s another game and a chance to put a bit of daylight between ourselves and Hibs, who are our nearest rivals.
“We have already had one over Hibs in the league this season and then they have had one over us. So as I said, I’m not too big on the psychology of it going into these big games.
“There’s three points up for grabs and when you’re a Rangers player playing at Ibrox or Easter Road, you have to win that game. You have got to find a way of doing it and Monday won’t be any different.”