BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
LEE Miller is hopeful he can finally enjoy promotion with Falkirk – 13 years after the club was denied its place in the top-flight.
Miller was still a raw youngster when the Bairns landed the First Division title in 2003, only for the SPL’s strict stadium criteria to prevent them going up.
It was a massive blow for the club, whose old Brockville stadium was revered by players and supporters alike for its atmosphere, but was deemed too outdated for the game’s rule-makers.
Now 32, Miller, who left Falkirk for Bristol City only weeks after promotion was denied in the summer of 2003, is determined to not let the opportunity to make up for that disappointment pass the club by this time round.
The Scotland cap said: “That was a crazy situation to be involved in at the club. Myself and Mark Kerr (who is also back at Falkirk) were involved in that and we had to go on to different things after it.
“It would be great to get us up there.
“We have everything in place. You look at the stadium out there and it is first-class. We have all the facilities in place.
“It is a team which wants to be, and should be, in the Premiership.
“Not getting promotion is up there as one of the biggest disappointments in my career.
“It was just an anti-climax because I would have loved to have seen Brockville in the top-flight. The atmosphere created in that place was second to none. It was a cracking place to play our football and the pitch was always in great nick.
“But I was just a young lad at that time and I didn’t really appreciate what was happening, to be honest.”
Following subsequent spells with Bristol City, where he suffered the blow of losing the the English Second Division play-off final to Brighton in 2004, Dundee United, Aberdeen, Middlesbrough, Carlisle United and Kilmarnock, Miller found himself back at his first club last summer.
He added: “It would be massive to get back into the Premiership with the club I started my career with, it would be tremendous.
“It would be a fitting way to come to the tail end of my career.”
Miller admits the ‘war of words’ that has blown up between Hibs and Falkirk this season will add spice to this evening’s match and the return leg on Friday night, but claims that ‘you have got to do what you do to win the game’.
On the previous occasion the teams met, last month, that was clearly in evidence as the Bairns stormed back from 2-0 down with 10 men to snatch a 2-2 draw with two goals in the final three minutes.
The experienced marksman knows a similarly spirited display will be required if they are to progress to face Kilmarnock, but he is confident that is not beyond Peter Houston’s side.
He went on: “It was a massive result for us.
“Not many people gave us a chance so you are going to celebrate that. To equalise in the way we did it, in the manner we did it, shows tremendous character and spirit from the boys. It shows how together we are.”