KENNY Miller may not have been as influential on the park for Rangers this season as he has been in previous campaigns for a variety of reasons.

Nevertheless, the loss of the vastly-experienced forward for a “significant” period of time due to a ruptured hamstring injury is still a serious blow to the Ibrox club.

Not having the former Scotland internationalist present on the park in the weeks ahead will jeopardise their chances of finishing runners-up in the Ladbrokes Premiership and going on a run in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

It is no coincidence that Graeme Murty’s side has performed so poorly since the striker, who turns 38 on Saturday, was stretchered off against Hibernian early on at Easter Road last week.

Rangers were poor that night and only sneaked a win due to the poor finishing of their hosts and a bad decision by referee Kevin Clancy, who ignored a strong penalty claim by the home team, late on. They were then deservedly beaten 3-1 at home by St. Johnstone at the weekend.

That latter result - the first time in 31 years they had been beaten by the Perth club in a league game at Ibrox - saw Aberdeen move into second place in the Premiership table.

Will the Govan club be able to reclaim it and stay there? It could prove very difficult for them to do so without Miller involved in their forthcoming fixtures - not least the second Glasgow derby game of the 2017/18 campaign against Celtic at Parkhead on Saturday week.

The former Hibs, Wolves, Derby County and Cardiff City players has many strengths as a player - not least an uncanny knack of popping up and scoring important goals in big games.

Yes, he has never been a prolific finisher, but his track record in the Old Firm game, a fixture he has scored 11 goals in over the years, in particular stands up to very close scrutiny indeed.

But the 69-times capped player brings far more to a team that that. A boyhood Rangers fan who is an an unprecedented third spell at Ibrox, he appreciates what it means to play for the Glasgow giants. He is important in ensuring that the standards required are met. He drives those around him on.

Playing in front of crowds of almost 50,000 can be demanding, when your team is struggling and the fans are getting restless especially, and not every player is able to cope with it. Miller, though, invariably rises to the challenge.

With Graham Dorrans and Lee Wallace also out, this injury to Miller has come at the worst possible time for Murty. Who are going to be his on-field leaders in the coming matches? It is hard to see who is going to fulfil his important role.

Miller will doubtless do what he can to support the Rangers players - who all, to a man, praise the advice, help and encouragement which he gives them - while he is sidelined but it is on the pitch where he will be most needed.