Houston - Miller time not over

  • Last Updated: August 14 2012, 7:51 BST

Scotland assistant manager Peter Houston has backed Kenny Miller to remain as number one striker despite his absence in the final warm-up to the World Cup qualifiers.

Kenny Miller: Backed to stay in Scotland fold

Jordan Rhodes looks set to start in the lone striker's role in Wednesday night's friendly against Australia at Easter Road after Miller was rested.

The 32-year-old Miller is embarking on a new role at Vancouver Whitecaps, a move perceived by some as him winding down his career.

But Miller has consistently stressed his continuing ambition to help Scotland reach a major tournament finals and Houston feels the former Rangers and Celtic man will be a key player in the Brazil 2014 campaign, which begins against Serbia on September 8.

Houston said: "Kenny Miller has done exceptionally well in the last qualifiers, and captained the team.

"We have to make sure we have players who can put Kenny under pressure.

"If Kenny is injured or not producing, then we have to find out who can take that role.

"But I think it would be wrong of us, because Kenny has gone to Vancouver that we rule him out.

"Kenny is still very fit, very quick and one thing is for sure, if you look at Jordan Rhodes and David Goodwillie, they can learn from the way Kenny Miller plays international football, as a lone striker on many occasions, and how he copes with defences.

"He upsets them and he has scored numerous goals at this level.

"But I still think Kenny is the number one striker."

Goodwillie came into the squad along with Ross McCormack and Ian Black after Craig Levein was hit by the weekend withdrawals of Graham Dorrans, Jamie Mackie, Phil Bardsley and James Forrest.

The manager had already rested Barry Robson, Miller's Vancouver team-mate, and both Scott Brown and Darren Fletcher are sidelined through fitness issues although the latter is training with the squad.

But Houston is keen to make sure Scotland get a result after their 5-1 defeat by USA in their previous outing.

"There has to be experimentation because of the players that have withdrawn," Houston said.

"There's five guys who could stake a claim to being in the first 11. Unfortunately they are out but it gives others an opportunity.

"But we have to make sure we are ready, this is a preparation for two very tough matches next month.

"Australia give us great opposition, they have some talented players, they are always very fit and athletic, and they are about 20 places above Scotland in the FIFA rankings."