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10 of 020

Kenny Miller: Atmosphere at Hampden was strangest I've ever experienced

MILLER cut a frustrated figure in the bowels of Hampden as he assessed another desperately disappointing night for the players and the supporters, which brought an angry reaction from the punters.
Miller says there were no excuses for the performance Miller says there were no excuses for the performance

KENNY MILLER last night admitted a furious Tartan Army had every right to vent their disgust after Scotland’s lifeless 1-1 draw with Macedonia.

The hitman bagged his 17th goal for his country in a 62-cap career in the closing stages of the first period to rescue his team from a dreadful loss – but it did nothing to dispel the gloom and misery felt by the attacker.

Miller cut a frustrated figure in the bowels of Hampden as he assessed another desperately disappointing night for the players and the supporters, which brought an angry reaction from the punters.

Fans were making unhappy noises after just 15 minutes of the clash against Macedonia and that had changed to full-scale fury on the full-time whistle in an atmosphere which the Vancouver Whitecaps star described as “the strangest” he had ever encountered at the National Stadium.

Just two matches into the campaign and the World Cup dream is hanging by a thread after a couple of draws and the spotlight has turned onto the manager and his troops.

Miller admits he could feel the tension in the stands that may have transmitted onto the pitch but didn’t hide from the fact that the Dark Blues fans had every reason to voice their disgust.

The honest striker said: “It never happened for us for whatever reason, but what I will say is that there was a different atmosphere at Hampden.

“Whether that translated on to the pitch or not, there’s no excuses. We still should have played at a better level.

“There’s been a lot of negative things from Saturday’s draw against Serbia. Rightly or wrongly, that’s not up to me to say. But it’s as strange an atmosphere as I’ve ever experienced at Hampden.

“Normally everyone is pulling in the same direction, for whatever reason, it didn’t seem like that tonight.

“As I said, a lot of negative things were written after the Serbia performance, but I thought we did okay and the goal just never came.

“However, looking at their result against Wales, you’ll see they are a decent side. I said on Monday that we’ve progressed but with performances like that, you can understand the frutration.

“It was a poor performance, a poor result and two points from two games is not what we expected.”

Miller insisted he was not having a go at the fans, but added: “I’ve never played at a game at Hampden when they haven’t been behind us.

“I’m not having a go as I understand the frustrations after two home draws. We wanted six points or at least four.

“We haven’t done that and, maybe, they can let that be known towards the end of the game, not during it.

“It can transmit down to the pitch. We’re not making excuses but everyone will agree that the fans are there to the end at any other game.

“The Tartan Army have been superb in my time with Scotland and there was a different feel tonight. Whether that’s turning against the team or the manager, there was a different feel.”

Miller is well aware that Levein is under heavy pressure after dropping four points in the opening 180 minutes of the campaign on home soil.

But the striker has made it clear that he feels the national coach is the man for the job and says the finger of blame must be pointed at the players.

When asked about his faith in Craig Levein, right, Miller says the troops are right behind their gaffer and added: “Definitely. I said it on Monday and it doesn’t change after one poor display.

“We believe in everything he is doing, whether that’s systems or personnel. He changed it up tonight and brought some other guys in. We believe in what we are doing but the manager can only do so much.

“It’s up to us to perform but we really underperformed.”

By accepting the blame, Miller would have liked to have explained to the Tartan Army what went wrong against Cedomir Janevski’s dangerous Balkans.

However, that was beyond him as he admitted honestly: “If we knew the reason we’d have put it right, either during the game or at half-time.

“It’s there for all to see. It was a poor start and it took the goal to kick us into gear. We were still nowhere near where we should have been but you expect us to kick on after the equaliser.

“We put them under pressure but didn’t get that one chance we were looking for.”

Despite the growing sense of unrest and the poor position in Group A after just two matches, Miller insists it is ridiculous to suggest Brazil 2014 is already out of reach.

And the goalscorer reckons next month’s double-header against Wales and Belgium can kickstart the campaign.

Miller said: “If we go and beat Wales next month we are right back in the mix. It’s a bad start but we need to take the positives.”

Taken from the Daily Record

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