Football: Miller takes Aberdeen call

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Aberdeen yesterday appointed Alex Miller, the Scotland No 2, as their new manager, hoping he can spark a much-needed revival at Pittodrie.

Miller, who left his assistant manager's job at Coventry, succeeds Roy Aitken, dismissed earlier this month after recording just two league wins in a dismal start to the season. Miller starts on Monday, leaving Keith Burkinshaw, the caretaker manager, in charge for the second and last time against Dunfermline at East End Park.

Celtic will be without three vital members for the Coca-Cola Cup final dress rehearsal against Dundee United at Parkhead. With the sides meeting again at Ibrox tomorrow week, today's match could provide a timely boost, though Celtic find themselves feeling the strain of Wednesday's 1-1 draw against Rangers with the central defenders, Alan Stubbs and Marc Rieper, injured, while Craig Burley is suspended

With the leaders Hearts facing Kilmarnock at Tynecastle tomorrow, Rangers have the chance to resume their customary place at the top of the Scottish Premier Division. However, Walter Smith, the manager, is taking nothing for granted for the trip to Motherwell, who surprised Celtic with a 2- 0 success at Parkhead last week. Smith said: "We haven't enjoyed the best of success against Motherwell in recent times. In the last two matches at Ibrox they have beaten us and got a draw."

Smith is without the injured Brian Laudrup, plus the suspended trio, Paul Gascoigne, Rino Gattuso and Gordon Durie, but Sergio Porrini returns to the defence.

Motherwell are still chasing a first league home win of the season but the striker Owen Coyle believes that is far from out of the question. He said: "We might be underdogs, but we have a chance as we proved last week in beating Celtic. We know how good Rangers are, but they were involved in some game with Celtic in midweek and are bound to be tired."

Hibernian have been lifted ahead of their visit to McDiarmid Park to face St Johnstone with the unsettled midfielder Pat McGinlay agreeing a new three-year deal. Jim Duffy, the manager, admits the need for points is urgent as six consecutive defeats have seen them slump to eighth. He said: "You have to keep believing that what you are doing is the correct thing, but we need three points on the board quickly."

Paul Sturrock, the Saints manager, added: "Hibs will be more dangerous with their recent run of results, but we need victory ourselves as the last two results have been disappointing."