BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
He has represented his country at senior level and plundered goals on both sides of the border, however Lee Miller is adamant that firing his beloved Falkirk to promotion would be the pinnacle of his professional career.
Miller, 32, rolled back the years on Saturday with an irrepressible display against St Mirren, scoring the opening goal after nine minutes and providing a super low cross for Blair Alston’s 90th-minute winner.
The 3-2 triumph over the Buddies affords the Bairns a six-point gap over Hibernian ahead of tomorrow’s clash between the sides at Easter Road, following the capital club’s shock 1-0 reverse in Alloa.
However, Miller’s ambitions run far beyond simply beating the stumbling Hibees to second spot in the Championship. He is determined to help Falkirk – his first club – secure their place back in the big time
And it would evidently be an sentimental triumph for the big striker, who still recalls winning the old First Division title in 2002/03 – yet not claiming promotion – before leaving for Bristol City.
“It would be my biggest achievement, by far,” said Miller, who took his tally to nine for the campaign. “In my second season in the first-team, Falkirk won the league and didn’t get promoted [due to SPL stadium regulations] and I still remember that disappointment.
“It would 100 per cent be more special to finally get that promotion with Falkirk. We should be up there. We have a great stadium and the fans have backed us right through the season.
“This season, with the squad we have – there’s not a lot of depth compared to the resources of Rangers and Hibs – it is a wonderful achievement for us to have been challenging. We have punched above our weight and long may that continue.
“People might say ‘we want Rangers and Hibs in the top-flight’. Well, Falkirk have got a lot to give. We’ve got fight, fans and plenty of quality in that dressing room. If we get into the Premiership it would be incredible and we’d bring plenty to the party.”
Falkirk’s opener was the type of goal Miller has made a career out of with clubs like Aberdeen, Hearts, Dundee United and Middlesbrough, ghosting in at the back-post to meet a deflected Myles Hippolyte cross and nod beyond Jamie Langfield.
A whirlwind second period saw St Mirren admirably fight back on two occasions.
The mercurial Stevie Mallan restored parity with a trademark free-kick from 20 yards which whistled past the helpless Danny Rogers, before Bob McHugh scrambled the Bairns back into the lead from close-range. However, Mallan was on hand to slot home his 13th goal of the season, converting a slick cut-back from Lewis Morgan.
Falkirk, however, had the fortitude to claim an injury-time winner when Miller showed the movement and wherewithal to drift into space in the box and find Alston with a super low cross for the in-demand midfielder to slot into the net.
Ahead of the tomorrow evening’s trip to Leith, the former Jambo added: “It’s effectively in our own hands now. We’ll go to Easter Road with a game-plan and I’m sure the boys will thrive on the occasion.”