Miller is Scotland’s main doubt for the clash, although it emerged yesterday afternoon that skipper Darren Fletcher is struggling with tonsilitis.
The striker is hopeful of making the final group game against Spain on Tuesday and has not ruled himself out of the first encounter, but Mackail-Smith looks likely to deputise in Vaduz. The 27-year-old has scored six goals for Brighton, who are fifth in the npower Championship, since leaving Peterborough in the summer.
Houston said: “Craig Mackail-Smith is a bit similar to Kenny – he works ever so hard, is very, very quick and, more importantly he is scoring goals and in very, very good form.
“He had chances to join Premiership teams this summer but it shows he would rather play every week. He chose Brighton, talking to him he says it’s a fantastic set-up and a good squad of players. He fancies his chances of going up to the Premiership there.
“My contacts down south tell me how well he’s playing. So I think Craig Mackail-Smith could stand in for Kenny and not lessen the side’s performance at all.”
Manager Craig Levein is not considering adding another striker to the squad despite Mackail-Smith and David Goodwillie being the only two fit forwards in the squad. And he dismissed concerns over a lack of experience with the pair possessing just four caps between them.
“People come to the fore,” the Dundee United manager said.
“Craig Mackail-Smith is a slightly late developer. It would be nice if he had more experience but players don’t really think about that.
“Certainly Craig Mackail-Smith won’t be thinking ‘I’ve not got the experience to play at this level’. I think he can play at any level because he has the attributes – he has pace, skill and the biggest thing is he scores goals.”