IT was so appropriate Liam Miller’s best game in a Celtic jersey came on Bonfire Night.

His breath-taking performance in a thrilling Champions League match at Parkhead against Lyon was like a firework in that he sparked, left the punters eyes and mouths wide open in wonder and then it was all over far too soon.

Miller played only 26 games for Celtic; however, the skinny Cork lad made one hell of an impact.

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Read more: Mark Burchill: Anyone who played with Liam Miller became his friend

His name was known before the 2003/04 season when, at the fairly old age of 22, Martin O’Neill threw him into the first-team. The Irishman played in a winning side at Ibrox, and he played well, scored in that European match against Lyon and in a home tie with Anderlecht.

Why it had taken him so long to get noticed was partly due to injury problems, he had more than his fair share as a kid, and also O’Neill’s renowned reluctance to look to less established players.

Indeed, Miller was in the last year of his contract, he was quickly offered a long-term deal, but soon there were rumblings that he could be off at the end of that season on a Bosman. Such rumours were to prove accurate.

In the New Year it was revealed Miller had signed for Manchester United, the team he’d supported to the extent the number 43 he wore at Celtic was in honour of Eric Cantona. You do the arithmetic.

I recall at the time thinking it would hard for anyone to turn down Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United but that he would struggle to get a game, and that's what happened. If it can ever be a mistake to sign for such a great manager and massive club, then this was it.

Had he stayed, there is every chance Miller would have become a Celtic great. He showed more than enough in less than 30 games that he had it in him.

Read more: Kieran Tierney - Hopefully if we lift a cup at Hampden next Sunday I can remember it this time

Ach, but ask yourself this. What would you have done? Okay, Miller didn’t become the next Roy Keane, but went on to have a more than decent career, probably made a right few quid, and the fans of Sunderland in particular have hugely fond memories of the midfielder who helped Keane’s team win the Championship.

Let’s go back to that night a smidgeon over 14 years ago – now there’s a thought – and Celtic’s 2-0 win over Lyon. Parkhead under the floodlights is pretty special and that night beat most. For me, it’s in my top five games I’ve ever watched in the ground.

From start to finish, the crowd sang and the stands bounced. There was a coat of paint between two attacking teams, and in the first half, Alan Thompson missed a penalty, just to add to the drama.

It had been reported that Paul Le Guen, then Lyon manager, had questioned Henrik Larsson as a player and so the Swede’s feathers were ruffled. He went onto have one of those games which had those responsible for the marks out of ten wondering if he could sneak a 9.9 into the paper.

In the second-half, he received the ball from Jackie McNamara, pulled off a step-over which bamboozled his “marker” and the resultant cross was headed home by Miller, the smallest man on the park.

Read more: Mark Burchill: Anyone who played with Liam Miller became his friend

Larsson repeated his trick not long afterwards and this time Chris Sutton was the man. However, after the game, we all wanted to talk to Miller.

And, so, this 22-year-old, he looked 15, stood in front of whatever the collective noun for Scottish football writers is (a bawbaggery?) as we barked questions at him.

Miller mumbled some answers in the thickest Irish accent ever, this was well out of his comfort zone, and no matter how much we tried, this wasn’t a lad prepared to sing his own praises. He was quiet, shy and modest. It was difficult not to really take to him.

And now this awfy nice husband and father is fighting pancreatic cancer, which serves as a reminder that life is a million miles from fair.

Nobody has a bad word to say about the man.

I hope with all my heart Miller can beat this. He gave 60,000 people including myself some wonderful memories that Bonfire Night.

It would be only right if he got the chance to make a lot more memories for his family.

And another thing

WORK took me to Murrayfield last week for the rugby and it could well be that one day soon it will for a football game.

There has been plenty written about the pros and cons of taking Scotland games away from Hampden, a stadium which gives faded grandeur a bad name, so I won't add anything to that debate.

However, what struck me were the bars beside the ground which aimed to serve customers within five minutes, the standard of food - proper fish suppers and oysters! - plus Prosecco.

According to the missus, even the toilets were posh.

So, the question is this.

Why is this all good enough for the rugby, while football punters get boiling Bovril and putrid pies?