Suspended Rangers pair Kenny Miller and Lee Wallace both look to have played their last games for the Ibrox club.
Rangers have adopted a hard-line approach following the players’ extreme reaction to Sunday’s 4-0 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Celtic at Hampden Park.
Miller and Wallace, vice-captain and captain respectively, have been identified as main culprits for dressing room scenes considered to have exceeded even the levels expected in what are often heated environments.
The players, neither of whom featured in the match, are understood to have undermined manager Graeme Murty’s authority. It’s not the first time Miller and Wallace have been accused of disrespect towards a manager. Both were ordered by Pedro Caixinha to stay away from games earlier this season. This previous indiscipline has been taken into account by chairman Dave King and Douglas Park, who was installed as deputy chairman last week.
The Ibrox club released a statement yesterday confirming the players were suspended until further notice.
“Rangers can confirm two players, Lee Wallace and Kenny Miller, have been suspended pending investigation into a team related incident,” said the statement.
“The club will make no further comment until this investigation has been completed.”
The pair have been told to stay away from Ibrox and the Rangers Training Centre at Auchenhowie in the meantime.
Miller, who is in his third spell at the club and is a match short of his 300th appearance, has just a few weeks of his current contract to go and could be given a deal to leave. The situation with Wallace, who is under contract for another 14 months, is less straightforward. He is held in particular esteem by some fans for staying at the club over the four seasons it took to return to the top flight from the bottom tier following liquidation in 2012.
But both players appear to have burned their bridges at Ibrox after turning on Murty in the direct aftermath of Sunday’s embarrassing defeat. Wallace has not played first-team football since September and is understood to be frustrating Ibrox officials with his lengthy comeback from a groin injury. Miller, meanwhile, signed a new 12-month contract last year but has not featured as much as he would like to have done this season.
The 38 year-old striker was an unused substitute at Hampden on Sunday after scoring his first goal in six months the previous weekend in the 4-0 win over Dundee. Miller has struck five times in 23 appearances this season.
“The club have decided certain individuals have been a disruptive influence for too long and are having no more of it,” said an Ibrox source. “No one can be bigger than the club. The club is bigger than any of them. ”
This stricter approach has been adopted by King and Park, who is wielding influence at Ibrox having already established a close relationship with his chairman.
While Miller and Wallace have felt the force of this new outlook it seems other incidents which took place on Sunday, including Andy Halliday’s angry outburst after being replaced five minutes before half-time, will merit only reprimands. Daniel Candeias will also be spoken to after storming down the tunnel when he was substituted in the second half, as will Greg Docherty and Alfredo Morelos for clashing after the final whistle.
Murty remains in place for the time being but it’s understood Rangers’ search for a new permanent manager is ongoing. The Ibrox side are determined to hang on to second spot in the last five games of the season and secure a European berth.