THE new Kenny Miller.

A tag that was bestowed upon me by the Scottish press as I came through alongside Kenny at Hibs in the late 90s. I watched him break through, firstly in a First Division campaign in 1998 that, under big Alex McLeish, the opposition was swept away by an incredible 23 points, and then the following season in the SPL, finish as Hibs top goal scorer and earn himself a big move to Rangers. I stepped into his big shoes when he left, so our early careers were always intertwined.

In fact, the previous season, in the Championship, I made my debut alongside Kenny down in sunny Stranraer and set up his first goal for Hibs. After that there was no stopping him while we went on to play together at Scotland U21 level and become close friends.

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He even came to visit me in Colorado when I was playing in the MLS and we have watched countless games of football together. So I feel I know him pretty well and how he operates.

Kenny has strong opinions on the game and how it should be played and I always felt he was destined to go on to become a manager one day.

The one thing that Kenny has always had is a very strong mentality. In fact, he has one of the strongest I have ever come across in football. People talk about the need to have thick skin and I think Kenny’s is made of rhino hide.

To play for both Rangers and Celtic requires a certain type of character and inner steel, which he has in abundance. He has never been scared of a challenge but he might just have taken on his biggest yet by deciding to become the new player-manager at Premiership new boys, Livingston.

I must admit I was a little surprised when I heard that he was in the running to take the managers job at Livi simply because I felt he had another season or two in the tank purely as a player.

He has kept himself in terrific shape and is probably fitter now at age 38 than he was at 18, albeit maybe a yard or two slower.

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But the more I ponder it, the more I have become convinced this was too good an opportunity for him to turn down.

Kenny has the prerequisite coaching badges required to be a manager at the top level in Scotland but he hasn’t done a great deal of coaching to date, mainly due to him still being a player. Whilst that could be an issue for some, when you take a look at the managers he has worked under - Alex McLeish,Walter Smith,Dick Advocaat and Gordon Strachan to name but four - I am sure he has picked up a ton of information and knowledge.

Kenny knows the game inside out and has been a pro at the highest level for 20 years so, like Steven Gerrard at Rangers, he will command instant respect from the players at Livingston as soon as he walks in the door.

He also inherits a squad that performed miracles under David Hopkin last season in the Championship to eventually get promoted. I watched a lot of Livi last year and I have never seen a harder working group of players. The hunger, desire and team spirit they showed was wonderful to watch and they got their just rewards in the end with promotion.

They now step up a considerable level again in terms of quality but I am sure this squad of players will be itching to prove people wrong once again and remain in the Premiership because, make no mistake, they will be big favourites to go straight back down again.

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But one thing they will do again is give every last ounce for the club and Kenny and, as a manager, that’s all you can ask for and I’m sure was an attraction for Kenny to take the job. If he can nurture the spirit they have and add one or two bits of quality to the squad they can make a real go of it in the Premiership and give a few of the big boys a bloody nose.

The only slight concern I have for Kenny is his dual player-manager role. He has the excellent David Martindale at his side to help him but to be a player and make decisions on the pitch as well as concentrating on your own game is going to be incredibly tough.

I am sure the attraction of Kenny for Livingston was they were getting not only a very good player but a big-name, young manager all rolled into one. I have a feeling though it might prove too much for Kenny to do both, but time will tell.

Kenny’s appointment is yet another big name to add to the already impressive list of managers in the Scottish Premiership.

I have no doubt Kenny Miller will be a huge success as a manager. He has the ruthless streak and fear factor in him that all good managers need. It could prove to be a masterstroke by Livingston to get him in the door.

But he may need to hang the boots up once and for all to enable him to become the manager that he wants to be.