Miller has 'no fear' as he prepares for Celtic Park return
Published 28/08/2008 | 12:37
Kenny Miller insists he is not worried about the reaction he will face in this weekend's Old Firm derby when he returns to Celtic Park for the first time since rejoining Rangers.
And the striker even hopes Sunday's match could be the game which finally wins over the section of Rangers fans who are still unhappy about his summer move to Ibrox.
Having already played for both halves of the Old Firm before his return, Miller was always expecting a hostile reaction from Rangers supporters unhappy about his recent spell at Celtic.
The negative response he has endured so far will be nothing compared to the reception he can expect to receive at Parkhead but Miller is determined to take the match in his stride.
"The Old Firm games are the big fixtures of the season and I was happy to see it come so early," he said. "I'm looking forward to the game and hopefully I get the nod to play up front in it.
"I'm definitely looking forward to it – there is no fear whatsoever. As a Rangers player, you always look to the Old Firm games. Those are the games you want to win, you want to play a part in and, as a forward, it's a dream to score in them.
"It's the game the fans look to, so if I'm playing a part and it's a positive result for us, I'm sure they will look on it positively. Hopefully, I can go out and change a few minds on the day.
"I don't think they [Rangers supporters] have been bad at all. There is obviously a special set of circumstances coming back here and I always knew there would be a few opposing it, which is to be expected. But the majority have been fantastic and the little bit of negative reaction hasn't hindered my performances."
Miller marked his Old Firm debut for Celtic with a goal against Rangers and would love to do the same this weekend, but insists his lack of goals so far this season is not weighing heavily on his mind.
"Obviously, you want to score as early as possible," he said. "But I don't feel the pressure at all. If the team is winning, that's all I care about. I don't care if I score goals, or someone else scores goals. I want to play a part in contributing to a successful team."
The manager Walter Smith knew bringing back Miller to Rangers would be regarded as a controversial move in football circles, but has no worries about the game with Celtic unsettling the player.
"I don't think it will," he said. "I'm sure there will be the usual banter between fans, but it's not something that's going to affect him. He is an experienced enough player to handle it."
Smith admits he will enjoy the hugely anticipated derby only if Rangers come out on top. "It can inspire, I don't think there's any doubt about that," he said. "If you want to come and play football and you want to be involved in football, these are the games that you want to be involved in, the big matches.
"You can't say during the match that you enjoy it. If you manage to get a good result then you do, but if you don't, it's an end-of-the-world sort of thing. I think they're games that players want to play in and any player worth his salt would want to play in."
Meanwhile, Smith insists he is in the dark over further comings and goings at Ibrox with the transfer deadline looming. "We don't know," he said. "We've got a big squad here now and obviously that would alert people to the fact that one or two may leave before the transfer deadline. But then again, that would depend on teams coming in for them. That's a situation we'll have to continue to monitor until the end of the week.
"We're happy enough with the group we've got here at present. But we'll just have to wait and see. The transfer window is one of them that throws up a lot of surprises in the last week."
* Shaun Maloney and Garry O'Connor have been recalled to the Scotland squad for the away World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Iceland on 6 and 10 September.