BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
RANGERS legend Terry Butcher has backed Kenny Miller for a sensational Scotland recall – and reckons he is the only forward who would strike fear into the heart of England boss Gareth Southgate.
The 37-year-old quit international football in August 2013, bowing out in style with a stunning strike in a 3-2 friendly defeat against the Auld Enemy at Wembley.
However, the evergreen attacker has rolled back the years this term and has been Mark Warburton’s most consistent performer, leading from the front with five goals in his last nine outings.
And Butcher, who coached Miller when he was part of George Burley’s Scotland set-up, is adamant Gordon Strachan can not afford to ignore the experience and goal threat posed by the veteran, who notched 18 times for his country in 69 appearances.
Scotland face Canada in a friendly on March 22 before resuming their stuttering World Cup qualifying campaign with an encounter against Slovenia four days later.
Butcher said: “Gordon [Strachan] might be looking more long term than short, but with the World Cup qualification you need to get short-term results. I don’t see any reason why, on a short-term basis, Kenny couldn’t make an appearance.
“That might well be the boost the country needs. He wouldn’t just be there to make up the numbers. He has been Rangers best striker this season without a shadow of doubt and there is no substitute for experience.
“He has been the one who had continually led and pushed Rangers more than anyone else. Sometimes you think he has run his course and then he pops up with a great goal. He is one of those people who leads by example and puts everything into it.
“He is quite quiet but what he says matters. I’ve known him say one or two things within the Scotland squad. His opinion was very strong but also correct.
“He wasn’t the most experience player in the squad at that time but he felt it needed to be said and he said it. You have to respect him for that. He has seen and done so much at Rangers and he knows exactly what needs to be done.”
But, as a former Three Lions skipper, part of him would dread seeing Miller in the starting line-up at Hampden in June. He laughed: “I just hope he is not picked for the 10th of June. I hope he is on his holidays by then.
“If I was Gareth [Southgate] and Kenny Miller was to play a part against England at Hampden – you’d be thinking it would be Sod’s Law for him to pop up with a goal. That would be my fear, so I actually hope he isn’t there!”