Kenny Miller says Scotland at their most deadly

Scotland's pride has taken a battering. Picture: SNS
Scotland's pride has taken a battering. Picture: SNS
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STRIKER Kenny Miller 
reckons Scotland are at their strongest when everyone they are at their weakest.

And he hopes they can prove their doubters wrong again when they take on Serbia in their Group A World Cup 
qualifier tonight.

Serbia are second seeds in the group and Miller knows that Scotland have an uphill task ahead of them if they are to head home from Novi Sad with a much-needed victory.

However, having been part of Scotland sides which achieved results against higher-ranked nations in recent years, he is hoping that they can pull a rabbit out of the hat again tonight.

The match is a must-win for the Scots, who have yet to win a game in Group A and sit bottom of the table with just two points from five matches.

“If there is any hope of us getting back into it we are going to have to win away from home,” Miller acknowledged. “We will find out soon. But Serbia away holds no fear for us. We will see what we can do.

“Traditionally, we have done well against good teams at home. But we have put in some good performances away from home in the past as well. We will be looking to do that once again this week.”

Scotland were rarely in the game against Wales at Hampden on Friday night, a match that they lost 2-1.

Former Hibs star Miller thought that the tide had started to turn in their favour after they opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time thanks to Grant Hanley but a two-minute spell midway through the second half changed that notion.

Wales scored twice inside 93 seconds through an Aaron Ramsey from the penalty spot and a Hal Robson-Kanu header.

“It was a frustrating start to the game,” Miller said. “We seemed to weather the storm and then got our goal right on half-time. It was the perfect time to get it.

“I was delighted for Grant.

“He has been on the fringes of the squad for a couple of years now. He is playing regular football at a good level down in Blackburn. He is only going to get better for both club and country.

“With the size of him, he is always going to be a threat in both boxes. You saw that on Friday night with his goal. He attacked the ball brilliantly and scored with a fantastic header.”

“We started the second half very well. We hit the post, had a couple of half chances in their box and probably could have gone 2-0 up.”

The second yellow card for Robert Snodgrass, after his challenge on Chris Gunter at the edge of the box gave the Welsh a penalty, was the major turning point in the match for Miller, who was brought off the bench after just two minutes to replace the injured Steven Fletcher.

Snodgrass had been one of Scotland’s better performers up to that point but with the likes of Steven Naismith, Kris 
Commons and Gary Mackay-Steven sitting on the bench on Friday night, Miller insisted that Strachan has a number of attacking options up his sleeve for tonight’s clash with Serbia.

He continued: “Snoddy is an all-action type of player. He wants to go in and win tackles at the back as well as doing his stuff at the other end.

“To be fair to him, he was superb for the 70-odd minutes he was on the field. He was just unfortunate that he mistimed his tackle at the end.

“If you look at the squad the manager has named for these games, there are a lot of options in the attacking areas.

“Snoddy and Chris Burke had the shirts in the forward areas the other night but there are another five or six lads in the squad who will definitely look to stake a claim for those positions in the future.

“It says a lot about the quality we have at our disposal that we have guys like Kris Commons and Steven Naismith, guys who are playing at a high level for their clubs, who didn’t get a game.

“I think the manager maybe raised a few eyebrows the other night with his selection. He didn’t pick Charlie Adam, Kris Commons and Steven Naismith. But that shows we have got good strength and depth within the squad.

“It is about putting that onto the park and producing results. The other night we were unfortunate with the way the game went.

“I did feel quite comfortable when we were leading 1-0. At the start of the second half, it looked as if we were the ones who were going to go on and get a goal.

“But the [penalty] decision changed the whole game.”

Vancouver Whitecaps player Miller trained with another of his old clubs, Rangers during the Canadian MLS off season, and feels that he is benefiting from the extra hours that he put in while the rest of his team-mates were enjoying a few weeks off.

He’s hoping that supporters will see a difference in him for both club and country and he added: “I never took any time off over the close season. I was in training with Rangers every day. I didn’t take any down time at all. I feel I have started the season pretty well.

“When I came away, I knew there was a chance I wouldn’t start the game. I knew Fletch would have the shirt with the way he has been playing.

“But I got the chance to come on pretty early when Fletch unfortunately picked up an injury.

“Going into Rangers was great. I couldn’t thank Ally and the boys there enough for it. It gave me the chance to get in shape.

“I went out to the MLS last season and it didn’t go how I would have hoped. It was great for Rangers to give me the chance to keep fit. Hopefully I can kick on this season. It is going that way so I am happy.

“I can’t thank Rangers enough. They were great. Some people might ask to go in for a little bit to do a little bit of training. I was in for two and a half months.

“I kept saying to them: ‘Look, if you want me to b***** off then let me know if I am overstaying my welcome’. They were brand new. They gave me the opportunity to keep going in, keep training and keep fit. It was great.”