Smith: Miller not to blame

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Rangers manager Walter Smith absolved Kenny Miller of any blame after his penalty miss cost the Clydesdale Bank Premier League leaders the chance to leave Inverness with all three points.

The Scotland striker was the hero when his 57th-minute strike cancelled out Jonny Hayes' stunning 31st-minute opener for Caley Thistle. However, Miller passed up the opportunity to clinch victory for the visitors eight minutes from time after Stuart Duff was adjudged to have felled James Beattie.

"It happens," said Smith. "People who take penalties put themselves up for it, so you have to be prepared that they are going to miss them once or twice. However, Kenny has been in fantastic goalscoring form for us this season, so I can't have any complaints."

He added: "For us it was a game of two halves. We played poorly in the first half and didn't deserve any better than we got out of the game going in at half-time. In the second half we played well and probably deserved to win the game as we dominated the match after the break."

Having seen his side put under pressure for large periods of the second half, Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher was pleased enough with the point - the second time Inverness have held Rangers to a 1-1 draw this term.

It was also a result that made it five consecutive SPL games unbeaten for the Highlanders, who have adapted well to life back in Scotland's top flight since winning promotion from the First Division last May.

And Butcher hopes there is much more to come from his team in the new year.

"We're just enjoying it," he said. "We've got a great festive programme to look forward to, so hopefully we can start to get a few more of our injured players back.

"The boys have put in so much work into building these unbeaten runs that they don't want to let it go because they don't want it to be seen as just a flash in the pan in terms of their form. It's more important than that.

"This year has been a fantastic one for the club and there are a lot of wonderful memories, so we want to try to continue that in 2011."

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Terry Butcher
Premier League
James Beattie
Kenny Miller

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