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McCoist tipping Miller to stay at Rangers

Assistant manager Ally McCoist is hopeful Kenny Miller is set to follow Steven Naismith's lead by pledging his future to Rangers.

Naismith, 24, had 18 months left on his original deal but has been secured long-term after signing a contract extension that keeps him at Ibrox until May 2015.

However, a question mark remains over whether Miller will still be a Rangers player beyond this season when his contract is set to expire.

The striker, who celebrates his 31st birthday today, has been on fine form this season and has already netted 20 goals.

So far, contract talks have failed to yield an agreement and Miller has been linked with a return south of the border but McCoist has refused to give up hope of retaining his services.

He said: “We would all be delighted if he stayed. I know his representative and [chief executive] Martin Bain have had lengthy discussions.

“It's not over the line yet but we are very, very hopeful that Kenny will be staying here and signing a new contract. You have a word here and there but it's only fair to let Kenny make his own mind up.

“He's got a young family and decisions to make and it will be his decision only but hopefully he stays.”

Naismith has also impressed this season and is showing signs of finally realising his potential following a difficult start to his Rangers career which was blighted by injury.

Among the highlights were the winning goal against Turkish champions Bursaspor in the Champions League and another memorable goal for Scotland against world champions Spain.

McCoist is tipped to take over the Ibrox helm in the summer when Walter Smith retires and he welcomed the news of Naismith's new deal. He said: “I'm absolutely thrilled. Steven is a great kid and he has come on in leaps and bounds this season.

“It's a real boost for everybody at the club that he's decided to extend his contract. He had a tough time when he came here and got a serious injury.

“It was tough when all the boys were going out training and he was sitting in the gym looking out the window long-term.

“It's not fun. But, to be fair to him, he's a great worker.

“I'm delighted he's signed the contract and that he is playing so well, which is terrific to see.

“You want all your good players to be tied up and to re-sign, certainly the younger ones coming through, and Naisy certainly fits that bill.

“There are bits of uncertainty over one or two of the players but this is good news and the fans will be delighted.

“It's a wee Christmas present for them.” Team-mate Steven Whittaker added: “It's great news.

“He has shown this season just what an important player he is for us and it's great he has committed to Rangers for the next few years.”

Like McCoist, Whittaker is well aware of the importance of securing Miller beyond the current campaign.

He said: “Those two have been on fire for us and they have scored the majority of our goals.

“It's important for us to keep hold of those players and Kenny will make a decision when the time is right.”

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