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Trust in Walter Smith paid off big time


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By Graeme Bryce, 31/05/2010

KENNY MILLER revealed every Rangers player breathed a huge sigh of relief when they heard boss Walter Smith had agreed a new one-year deal.

The grateful striker's sigh was probably one of the loudest as he believes he would never have been within 100 miles of Ibrox if Smith hadn't shown the courage of his convictions to sign him from Derby County two years ago.

Miller, 30, said: "Walter is the best manager I've ever played under - bar none.

"I have played for some great managers - Glenn Hoddle and Dave Jones at Wolves,

Gordon Strachan at Celtic, Alex McLeish with both Hibs and Scotland as well as Billy Davies at Derby. Every one of them has been successful in their own right and is highly regarded in the game but Walter is on another level.

"I wouldn't be a Rangers player today if it wasn't for him. I owe him every bit of success I have had over the past two seasons.

"The two SPL titles, last season's Scottish Cup win, my winning goal in the League Cup Final - none of that could have happened without him.

"Success has followed him every step of the way at Rangers. Davie Weir has achieved a lot in the game but just look at the esteem he holds Walter in.

"Walter did Davie a favour by signing him for Rangers and Davie certainly repaid the favour.

"I'd like to think I have the same story to tell with my move here. I'm so grateful to the gaffer for the opportunity he gave me especially as there were so many reasons why it would have been easy for him to look elsewhere.

"I wasn't exactly the easiest signing he's ever had to make was I? I'd been at Rangers before when I was a kid and had left without really nailing a place in the team. I then came back from England and signed for our greatest rivals.

"To make it worse I even scored for Celtic against Rangers.

"The Rangers fans made it clear they didn't want me and if any other manager had been in charge I doubt that my move would have happened.

"The gaffer never gave it a second thought. There aren't too many bosses in the game, just the top ones like Ferguson, Wenger or Mourinho, who are comfortable doing that.

"I wouldn't have stood a chance if Walter hadn't made it perfectly clear he rated me and knew I could do a good job for Rangers.

"When I played for him with Scotland it gave my confidence a massive boost, just knowing he rated me.

"When I arrived at Rangers I was on a high because I knew he had stuck his neck out for me and I took that as a huge compliment.

"He's brilliant at that, building up players to believe in themselves, just because you can see he believes in you. He's a manager you can trust with your life. Signing me showed he trusted and believed in me. The general opinion was Rangers shouldn't touch me, so I owe the gaffer a great deal for making it happen."

However, Miller is the first to admit the pair haven't always seen eye to eye as the striker's passion and petted lip have landed him in bother with Smith on the odd occasion.

In fact, he revealed he received the hairdryer treatment at half-time during Rangers' thrilling nine-man Co-operative Insurance Cup final win over St Mirren.

Miller shuddered as he recalled the moment Smith turned on him - and also ultimately turned the cup final on its head.

He said: "I've learned it's safer never to cross the gaffer, because I've first-hand experience of what it's like to be on the wrong end of a Walter Smith blast.

"He's close to his players but we know there are boundaries you shouldn't cross. Unfortunately, I did get on the wrong side of him during the Co-operative Insurance Cup Final. That was a big mistake!

"I take any defeats really hard and we just weren't playing well in the first half. I didn't just hate the fact that I felt we were letting ourselves down. I felt we were letting down the gaffer and Coisty and I didn't want to do that.

"I started to have a go at a few of the guys and there was a bit of shouting going on.

"Then the gaffer looked over at me and I could see he wasn't happy. He told me in no uncertain terms that I should get my OWN finger out! I got the message and went out for the second half determined to do the business for him.

"Fortunately I managed to do that with the header which won us the cup, even though we were down to nine men.

"That's the great thing about Walter and Ally. It isn't a fear thing which drives you on with them - it's a determination not to let them down.

"We have a fantastic working environment at Murray Park and it's a pleasure to go in to work every day. It's easily the best atmosphere I've experienced in football.

"The players have a great working relationship with the coaches who put a lot of work into making all the training sessions bright and lively.

"If every player at the club had been granted one wish at the end of the season they'd have all asked for the same thing - that the current managerial team didn't break up and the gaffer, Coisty and Kenny McDowall would all sign on again.

"I'm sure there was a feeling of relief with all the boys when it was confirmed they were staying."

The Rangers boss agreed a new one-year-deal last week but the 62-year-old also made it clear this will be his final season in charge before handing the reins over to Ally McCoist in 12 months time.

It's a similar pronouncement to one made by Sir Alex Ferguson almost a decade ago, when he went public and announced to the world he was going to quit Manchester United at the end of the 2001-02 season - then watched United's form plummet.

However, Miller says there is no parallel to be drawn from United's experience. He said: "There's no way we will slip into bad ways next season just because we know the gaffer is leaving.

"What happened at Manchester United when Sir Alex Ferguson did something similar is Manchester United's business. It's got nothing to do with us.

"There's no way the kind of quality players United have would ever down tools - and we're the same. As far as I'm concerned, there is absolutely no comparison between the two situations.

"By publicly stating his long-term plans Walter has taken away any element of doubt. There is no uncertainty about the future. Ally McCoist will become Rangers manager when Walter goes, so there's not going to be any major upheaval. We have plenty of time to get our heads round this.

"Ally has worked with the gaffer for the last five years for club and country and has learned a great deal from him. He also knows his methods inside out.

"If we had no idea who was coming in to replace Walter Smith there may have been a problem but we know exactly what the bigger picture is now.

"Anyway, I think this team has shown it has a strong backbone. If we were the type of team who were affected by uncertainty or who looked for excuses we had plenty of opportunity last season.

"We could have used the fact we hadn't signed anyone for two years as an excuse, or the debts or the rumours about the club going into administration or the fact our manager and his backroom staff were operating without contracts.

"We had plenty of excuses to chuck it when we dropped out of Europe, if we really felt sorry for ourselves, but we're not that type of team.

"Europe showed we may not be the most naturally gifted group of players the Rangers supporters have ever seen but no one can question the fact we play as a team and we're all willing to fight for the jersey.

"We'll go the extra yard for each other and we have shown we have the mental strength to fight and grind out results for the manager."

Love the bit regarding the final,Walter commands so much respect in that dressing room.

http://www.newsoftheworld.co.uk/scottish/scottish_sport/830753/Striker-Kenny-Miller-opens-up-on-his-dream-season-at-Rangers.html

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He certainly commands TOTAL respect and so he should.I remember being at Kilmarnock in August 2000 watching Kenny Miller score his very first Rangers goal in our 4-2 win and as the ball hit the net,I'm thinking...This kid is going to be a great buy for us.

It was a great surprise to me when he came back to us, and as he said, it is all down to Walter that he is there and that when Walter talks, the whole team listens.I'm actually surprised in some ways that Walter has decided this will be his last year at the helm, because he will find it so difficult to walk away from the game at the age of 63.

I'm the same age as Walter and still can't walk away from the game as a Manager/coach , but then again, I'm not under the same pressure as he is at a massive club like Rangers.If he retires for good next year, he will be sorely missed by so many people, so I hope he may stay on at Ibrox in some other capacity, but if not, I thank him for all he has done for our great club.He is indeed a Legend of the game.(tu):clap::praise:

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When Kenny scores aginst the scum I cant wipe the smile off my face, for the simple reason he was forced out the door with the message your not good enough to play for us. haha, I bet every time he scores against them he must be thinking get it fucken round you liewell. love you King Kenny gives us more of the same next season

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i don't care that he used to play for them, he plays for us now & is doing a good job of it.

how many goals did he score against us for them?

are there any videos? i'm just interested to see if there are any differences in his reactions...

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Miler has been a fantastic signing 2nd time around and his goal against Celtic have been hugely important in terms of winning the title this season.

I think the world of Kenny Miller and Walter done the right thing bringing the boy home to Ibrox.

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