He has already had an 18-year senior career that will stand alone.
In yesterday agreeing a one-year extension to his current deal at Rangers, Kenny Miller has paved the way for adding one more exceptional element to that.
The forward, who turns 36 in a matter of weeks, will now have a shot of playing top-flight football in Scotland 20 years after he debuted in this arena by penning a deal that takes him to 2017. Miller made his debut for Hibernian in November 1997, before becoming the first player to sign for Rangers, then Celtic and then Rangers on a further two occasions. If he can help Mark Warburton’s men earn promotion from the Championship this season, it would complete a remarkable personal journey.
Miller’s time seems never-ending. Age does not seem to diminish the enthusiasm or application inherent in a whirling dervish of a front man.
Certainly, advancing years have brought physical issues – he is currently sidelined with a groin injury after five goals in 13 outings this season. However, Rangers manager Mark Warburton admitted yesterday that Miller’s inspirational qualities make him too valuable to lose. Despite suggestions otherwise, his new deal is for the playing side only. His assisting Ian Durrant with Rangers under-20s has to be pursued in his spare time and not at the expense of his own football, his manager said.
“Kenny is very much part of our plans going forward. While he has a very bright future as a coach, this is a contract he has earned as player,” Warburton told Rangers TV. “He’s played a key role in terms of his attitude, performances and in a mentoring role to the younger players. His coaching shows his good use of time management, but his absolute focus is to be fit and well for first-team duty.”
Miller, speaking to the club’s television channel, seemed taken aback that his future had already been resolved, bearing in mind his veteran status.
He said: “I am absolutely delighted. It was unexpected to have the conversation so early in regards to staying for another year.
“It’s great to get it done and dusted, and I’m back firmly focused on getting back fit, back playing,” he said. “I’m very, very thankful that the manager has seen enough in the first four or five months to offer me that extra year, and, hopefully, I can repay him with some good performances, a few more goals and a promotion to get us back to the top league next year.
“With the initial contract [signed in the summer of 2014] being a year and a year option, I always looked at it being two years, but with a view to hopefully staying and hopefully finishing off here. That’s the aim, but you need to make sure you’re contributing day-in, day-out to earn the new deal. The manager has seen in these five months that every day in training, I’m giving everything I’ve got and, ultimately, I’m still contributing on a match day, whether that be as a starter or a substitute.” Miller’s everything seems ageless.