Miller - Row was handbags

Striker says Gers are "well placed" to retain title

Miller: Praised Bougherra

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Rangers striker Kenny Miller has played down his recent row with Madjid Bougherra after the two inspired their side to a 3-1 win over Falkirk.

Miller and Bougherra fell out after a training ground bust-up and reports suggested the two nearly came to blows.

But Miller was on hand to seal the win over bottom club Falkirk from the penalty-spot after Kris Boyd's double had put the visitors in control.

The win takes the Gers to within two points of leaders Celtic with a game in-hand.

The striker was at pains to play down the row and said the two had moved on.

"It was only handbags," Miller told the Daily Record. "You get those rows all the time. It was the same the next day with Kyle Lafferty and Davie Weir.

"People talk about the arguments because that's just down to the club we are at. We are grown men and there are going to be disagreements through the season.

"Madjid is an important player. I said before the Champions League game with Stuttgart he's a massive player for us."

Miller also praised Bougherra for his solid display and hailed his attacking instincts, which led to Boyd's opening goal.

Asset

The Algerian defender carried the ball out of the Rangers defence and exchanged passes with Steven Davis and Miller before picking out Boyd with a cross to open the scoring.

It was the former Charlton man's first start in a Rangers shirt since the end of September and the display marked an impressive return to the side.

Manager Walter Smith had lost patience with Bougherra this season after the 27-year-old twice returned from international duty late.

"He's one of our best and a great asset to the club," Miller added. "That's why he's linked with here, there and everywhere. Madjid is a rock-solid defender and also a good attacking option. He set up the first goal with an attacking run.

"You saw what he brings with that run at 0-0. Maybe if you're two or three up you expect the centre-half to be overlapping on the right wing.

"But Madjid did it early and teed up Boydy's first goal. He brings stability to the back four and we've missed him."

The Ibrox club went into the match with criticism from former stars such as Mark Hateley and Richard Gough ringing in their ears meaning the win couldn't have come at a better time for Miller and his team mates.

Two successive defeats - a 2-0 home loss against Stuttgart in the Champions League to end a miserable European campaign and a 1-0 reverse against Aberdeen - left Rangers susceptible to some harsh words.

The criticism did not faze Miller and he revealed Smith told his players to focus on SPL title matters.

"The first goal in any game is important and that's how it proved against Falkirk," Miller said. "The manager has told us just to focus on the job of retaining the league title.

"It's easy to knock people down. You never get a lot of praise from these people. But we'll just knuckle down and play our own game.

"They can have their own opinions. They have been in successful Rangers teams but we want to be a successful Rangers team too."

Daylight

The 29-year-old also said he wanted the club to build on the success of last year's league and cup double.

He added: "We want to build on last season. We had a great Double and it was terrific to win on the final day last season.

"I'd rather wrap it up in April this time. Since the manager came back to Rangers he's done well every season.

"In his first full campaign he went close to a Quadruple and ended up winning two cups. Last season he won the league and the Scottish Cup. Now we're well placed again."

The former Derby County man said the side must focus on a crucial run of fixtures first though before the club can think about wrapping up the title.

Rangers face St Johnston, Dundee United and Hibernian before facing a crucial visit to Celtic Park in the New Year for the Old Firm derby.

"It's a big month for us," Miller said. "We have some tough games coming up with Hibs away, Dundee United both home and away and Celtic away.

"It doesn't come any harder than that so we must put some points on the board. Hopefully we'll reach Christmas at the top of the league and then attack.

"We were seven points behind last season and had to dig deep after Christmas with a good run of games.

"These next three games can put us back on top of the league. Then in the three matches after Christmas we could put some daylight between ourselves and Celtic rather than chasing."