TO say Kenny Miller is a man who likes a challenge is something of an understatement.

Not only did the 34-year-old single-handedly lead the line for Scotland for years, this is a figure who has spent the best for a decade gamely attempting to win over both sets of Old Firm fans.

Thankfully for his sake, when he looks around the Rangers dressing room that he will join in his third stint at the Ibrox club, he recognises some kindred spirits. Whatever happens, we are assured of at least one loser in the three-way battle to escape the Championship involving Rangers, Hearts and Hibs next season and Miller is resolved that it shouldn't be the Glasgow club.

Loading article content

"I wouldn't say I'm delighted about it [his former club Hibs going down] but it's a challenge," said Miller. "And this squad needs challenged. We've played at a level these last few years and won games quite comfortably without ever getting out of second or third gears.

"I'm sure this year will be a real challenge and we can rise to the challenge and bring the best out of the boys here. It will be competitive this season, not just with Hibs and Hearts, but it will bring out the best in this squad."

Ever since the two men first worked together with Scotland circa 2005, Ally McCoist has played no small part in Miller's career, so it is little wonder that the striker plans to repay his manager.

Miller feels the criticism which came McCoist's way in the wake of the William Hill Scottish Cup draw against Albion Rovers was unfair, but it would be nothing compared to the flak he would have to field should they miss out on promotion.

"I think everyone at some point has felt for the manager over the last couple of seasons," said Miller. "Managers should only really have to concentrate on their team and winning games on a Saturday - especially as a Rangers manager. So I can't imagine what he's gone through these last three years.

"It's been a big rebuilding job and to deal with everything they've dealt with I think the coaching staff deserve a lot of credit."

"He's been a big part of my career since him and Walter took over the national squad in 2005," he added. "We're talking the best part of a decade now. When you go through a season unbeaten at any level then you have to be doing something right. I've no doubt that this squad will rise to that challenge and we'll be at the top of the Championship."

While Miller said he would have joined the club whilst in the third division if a job could have been done, his signing remains a deeply political act, with the club's supporter base still divided and the possibility of further financial difficulties ahead.

Miller feels sure that the support will come out if the players can provide encouragement. "The fans' support has been unwavering," he said. "I've sat in the crowd during the MLS close season for the past two seasons.

"I saw us play Peterhead, we won 2-0 and there were 49,000 there. I couldn't believe it. Yes there's a lot going on off the field, but that support has kept the club going.

"The worst thing would be to walk out at Ibrox with 20,000 there, but it hasn't happened. We've had 40,000-45,000. They support the club and they'll continue to support us.

"It's up to us to make sure we're playing a good brand of football and bringing success.

"We want to give them something to shout about."