Kenny Miller names Rangers vs Celtic BONUS as ex striker slaughters Ibrox delays

Kenny Miller reckons a Rangers vs Celtic clash within the first four fixtures of the season is a BONUS - as he slaughtered the Ibrox stadium delays.

The new campaign calendar was released last week and the supercomputer picked out the two Glasgow giants squaring off at Parkhead early doors in the Premiership. Miller believes it's a good thing to see the rivals face one another so quickly after the restart because it gives Gers the opportunity to test themselves against their foes without too much action beforehand.

The problem, though, for Miller is the idea that some of the other fixtures - including in Europe - will have to be played at a neutral venue and that could put some pressure on the club.

"It wouldn’t matter to me whether I was playing at Alloa, Forfar - or the Bernabeu against Real Madrid. Every time I’d pull on a Rangers jersey, my only focus was to WIN," Miller wrote in his Sunday Mail column.

"The surroundings or the stadium were irrelevant. And it should be the same for this current squad of players now. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not worried about the prospect of Rangers being away from Ibrox for the start of this season. When the SPFL released the fixtures last week, I was actually relieved. Getting an Old Firm derby against Celtic just four games in is a BONUS.

"Because it means Rangers have fewer must-win games before they go to Parkhead. I was on holiday in Florida when I first heard the news that Ibrox wouldn’t be ready. My first question was: ‘Why’? My second was: ‘What the f**k is going to happen now’? And where will Rangers be playing these vitally important games at the start of a new campaign? I’m talking about EVERY game, not just the Champions League qualifiers where there is potentially £60million at stake.

"That’s obviously the stand-out. But I’m also looking at two home games against Motherwell and Ross County. Both of those teams BEAT Rangers at the end of last season.

"And now they’ll have to face them on neutral ground. Hearts at Tynecastle and that Celtic away game make up the first four fixtures.

"All of those clubs took points off Philippe Clement’s team in the run-in, what I’m really concerned about is points and prizes. And what it could potentially mean for Clement so early in the season.

"We haven’t even started yet but I’m going to say it, anyway. There is NO way Rangers can go into that first Old Firm game - given their recent record against Celtic - having slipped up already in the league.

"In terms of the European games, here’s what I’d say. How much emphasis was put on the Ibrox atmosphere - and the energy it provided the players - when they got to the Europa League Final two years ago?

"There’s no getting away from it - it’s NOT ideal. You can’t recreate the Ibrox atmosphere. And for the players, it’s about how it looks. When they get there, they’ll automatically feel: ‘What are we doing here’? Maybe this situation was outwith anyone’s control. I get that.

"But as an elite level football club, you have to ask: ‘Could you not have made sure this didn’t happen’? How have they ended up in this predicament?

"Clement would much rather be playing at Ibrox, of course he would. But what I’d say about the manager is that since he arrived, he’s always had laser focus on the challenge in front of him. The other difficult thing for Clement is that he’ll be trying to bed in 10 new players.

"They’ll have to learn on the job what it’s like to be a Rangers player in this city.

"These new players quickly have to get used to that pressure. And I’m not sure playing the first few games away from your home ground will help with that.

"There will be a demand put on them from day one. To go and challenge a Celtic team they couldn’t lay a glove on last season.

"It can be a heavy jersey and not every player can handle it. Playing a £60million Champions League game in a stadium they’ve only set foot in once before - just adds to that."