THERE are few greater honours which can be bestowed on anyone connected to Celtic than being compared to Billy McNeill.

A magnificent statue of a magnificent man now greets people at the bottom of the Celtic Way, the European Cup raised his hands, his many honours carved on the plinth. Some of younger pilgrims may be surprised to see that as manager of the club, the great Cesar’s record is quite superb.

Four league titles, three Scottish Cups, a League Cup, three of these final wins came against Rangers, and most memorably of all the Double done in the club’s centenary year which for many of a certain age their favourite season as a fan.

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Joe Miller was signed during that campaign and the little winger made a huge contribution to a side which weren’t the keeping it tight and playing safe type. It was more attack, attack and then attack again.

That Celtic team wasn't perfect but they were great to watch.

Miller has been delighted to see similarities between the team he played in and the one Brendan Rodgers has put together this season. Big Billy’s philosophy has been taken on by the present day manager, which makes the former player a happy man.

“If you compare this season to the previous two it’s night and day,” said Miller. “The style of football played by Celtic is going back to the old cavalier approach when it was all about scoring as many goals as you possibly could.

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“That’s the way Celtic played when I was at the club. Big Billy used to tell us to go at teams, to press the ball and make sure we got it back as quickly as possible, and create as many chances as possible.

“That’s what this team is doing. It’s exactly the same. Celtic are playing a much better style in terms of the possession and the game-plan which has shown there is a thought process gone into it.

"They know when to keep the ball, when to press and the chances they create are fantastic. They are a really good side at the moment. All Celtic supporters are upbeat.”

Rodgers and his players have an interesting few days ahead of them. First up it’s Barcelona and even a draw, which would be some result given what happened last time, might be enough for Celtic to head into the final match against Manchester City with a chance at least of European football after Christmas.

And then on Sunday comes the Betfred League Cup Final with Aberdeen, a game which promises to be memorable and an opportunity for Rodgers to win his first trophy and Celtic’s 100th.

There is an argument to be made that Aberdeen should benefit from their weekend rivals having such a big match during their own uninterrupted week of preparations but Miller isn’t so sure.

“I think it’s better to have a game,” he said. “You want to play as much as possible. A lot of the players will have the cup final in mind but these are two massive games. Aberdeen’s preparation will be better because they have more time but if Celtic do well against Barcelona then it will put the fear of God up the Aberdeen boys.”

So can Celtic get anything from a team who effortlessly put seven past them only a few weeks ago?

“I don’t see why not,” said Miller. “Brendan maybe even learned something from the game in Barcelona.

"He had come off the back of beating Rangers and went over there to play a side full of world class players. Parking the bus in the Nou Camp, playing more defenders to try and nullify certain individuals, Lionel Messi and the like, is an approach that would have been better suited.

“If they can have a go but be sensible during then Celtic have a right chance. It's about taking your chances in those areas. When you get to the final third you need that bit of quality, a good cross perhaps, people timing their runs, and you need luck as well.

“It’s great for these young players. It’s great for the Celtic fans as I said. They are watching a young team grow under Rodgers. He is learning because he is getting that European experience of coming up against Barcelona. I don’t think he’s had that in the past, although he has worked down in the Premier League in England.”

Miller is looking forward to the season’s first final which features the two clubs he is most closely associated with.

Two spells at Aberdeen came either side of his time at Celtic and while a fan of the team from Glasgow, Miller retains a big soft spot for the North East outfit with whom he used to enjoy putting one over the Old Firm.

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“Aberdeen will fancy themselves because they do well against Celtic,” said Miller. “This is always the case, even when I went back to the club, I always felt when the Glasgow sides came up to Aberdeen the boys in the our dressing room always lifted themselves, as if it was a platform to play on.

“It was a wee bit of indictment because against some of the other teams in the league sometimes they could be sloppy. We could do well against Rangers and then we went to Stenhousemuir and got beat there. It’s not something you want to remember!

"You have to be up for every game. But I think the mentality Derek McInnes has put together with the group of players, there is a good bond there.”

Joe Miller was speaking as the SPFL Trust launched it’s Legacy 2014 League Cup Funding Report, which revealed over 30,000 people have been supported by community projects across the country. The report can be read online at