‘I’ve had to sit tight-lipped . . . I will have my time’, but Kenny Miller adamant acrimonious Rangers exit has not damaged his reputation as he embarks on Livingston role

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BY ROSS PILCHER – @CCP_Sport

KENNY MILLER insists his acrimonious departure from Rangers has not damaged his reputation as he embarks on his maiden managerial role with Livingston.

The former Scotland striker was yesterday unveiled as the successor to David Hopkin, who opted not to renew his contract following the Lions’ unexpected promotion to the Premiership last term.

Miller, who has penned a two-year deal in West Lothian and will work closely with existing assistant David Martindale, departed Ibrox under a cloud when his contract expired last month.

(PIC: Ronnie Macdonald)

He was suspended by the Gers following an alleged bust-up with former caretaker manager Graeme Murty in the wake of April’s 4-0 Scottish Cup semi-final defeat to Celtic. Miller is appealing the disciplinary action imposed on him by his old employers.

He has vowed to break his silence one day but, with the situation ongoing, he was keen to look to the future.

“Has it damaged me? I wouldn’t say that,” said Miller. “Everybody who knows me, knows how I am as a person. So what was done last year did hurt and left me disappointed. But damage? No.

“I gave the club eight years’ service, I scored a lot of goals, I won a lot of leagues and cups and had some great times. I enjoyed working with some really good people who are still at the club.

“I’ll have my time to put that right. I’ve had to sit tight-lipped for pretty much a whole season about certain things. I will have my time. That day will come.

“Today’s not the day for that. It’s about coming to Livingston and how excited I am about that.

“You move on to the next challenge. I am absolutely delighted that this one has come up and I have the opportunity now to implement all the ideas I have and talked about over the last few years.”

Rangers visit the Toni Macaroni arena at the end of September, and Miller is hopeful of a positive reaction from the away support – particularly given the fact he feels robbed of a fitting send-off.

“I would like to think I’d get a decent reception,” he said. “I never had the opportunity of that at the end of the season. That was taken away. If the fans choose to give me a good reception, great. If not, then I will be focused on one thing that day anyway.”

The welcome he will be afforded in his first match in charge at Celtic Park on the opening day of the Premiership season, as a player who sandwiched a stint with the Hoops between his exploits with Rangers, is rather easier to predict.

“I am sure I will get a colourful reception that day,” Miller smiled. “But what an opportunity it is. Livingston have worked so hard over two years to win League One and then promotion to the Premiership.

“They were written off last year, so what a reward this is – going to Parkhead on the opening day. There will be a sell-out crowd. What player wouldn’t want to go and play in that?”

While acutely aware that Livingston will be favourites for the drop, Miller has vowed to bring his winning mentality to West Lothian.

“I want to start well, I want to end well, I want the middle to be good as well!” added Miller.

“My mindset won’t change because I’m at a so-called smaller club. Success may be measured on a different level but my mindset’s the same. I want to win and be successful.

“At the end of the season we’ll see where we are – but I’m more than confident we can have a good year.”