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PersonalFullname: Joseph Miller
aka: Joe Miller
Born: 8 Dec 1967
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Signed: 13 Nov 1987
Left: 28 July 1993
Debut: Celtic 5-0 Dundee, League, 14 Nov 1987
BiogThough born and raised in Glasgow and having played for Celtic Boys Club, Joe Miller was missed by the club and he signed for Aberdeen as a youth. He made 60 appearances for them playing as a central striker and became one of the most lauded up and coming players in the country.
Considered as the outstanding prospect in the closed season at the end of 1986/87, most of the big clubs south of the border made bids for him with Liverpool and Manchester United leading the pack but closely followed by Everton, Nottingham Forest and Tottenham Hotspur. McNeill was prepared to use most of the funds gained from the sale of McClair, Johnston, McInally and MacLeod to win his signature but Aberdeen rebuffed him 3 times. Celtic were not alone - all the English teams got this treatment too and it appeared that Aberdeen were pricing him out of the market.
He was bought finally bought by Billy McNeill for £650,000 on 13th November 1987 going straight into the team for the following day's match against Dundee. McNeill's view was that Miller could be turned into a winger and provide the much needed crosses for McAvennie, another new signing that season from West Ham. As such Joe Miller spent most of his Celtic career played out of position wide right rather than through the middle and his relationship with McNeill was less than it could have been.
At the end of the 1988/89 season McNeill eventually gave Miller the number 9 jersey for Celtic's last two league games after McAvennie departed to West Ham United and he scored the winner in both games (May 6, Hibs 1-0 and May 13, St.Mirren 1-0) which earned him the role as striker in the Scottish cup final on May 20th. Joe came up trumps again by scoring the only goal in the game after a horrendous pass back by Rangers' defender Gary Stevens. At this point Joe was entitled to a run as striker but after the arrival of Coyne, Dzieknowski and Hewitt Joe found himself out on the wing again.
The ultimate ignominy came in September 1989 in the League Cup semi final at Hampden when he came on as a sub for Stevie Fulton only to be replaced after 22 minutes by Andy Walker. He asked for a transfer which was turned down though the frank discussions went some way towards a reconciliation between the manager and player.
The following season he had probably his best period at Celtic scoring 10 goals in 31 appearances and remaining injury free. He was out of contract at the end of the season and was offered a new deal in May which showed no improvement in terms and was rejected.
With McNeill gone and Liam Brady as new manager Joe was still expected to ply the right wing despite a lack of striking power at the club. In July Manchester Utd. offered half a million pounds to take him to Old Trafford. This alerted the Board and he was offered and took a new 2 year contract. Consistent and as hard working as ever, nevertheless the team ended the season 3rd in the league and without a Cup only gaining European football in 92/93 through the exclusion of Serbia teams.
1992-1993 was a poor season for Joe when he spent as much time with the Reserves as with the first team and was beset by niggling injuries. With the return of Frank McAvennie to Celtic it was hoped that their partnership would reignite but this failed to happen and Joe ended the season making sub appearances from the bench. He was once more out of contract and looked likely to be sold.
He did go on pre-season to Italy with the team but was sold to Aberdeen in July to raise funds to purchase McGinlay from Hibernian.
Joe Miller was Celtic's most sensational signing in years and when on form was an absolute delight to watch and a huge favourite with the Celtic support. Sadly, he found himself in a mediocre Celtic team under poor coaching management and, ultimately, we were never able to see him totally fulfil his potential. Could have been so much more.
Post-CelticHe enjoyed a further five seasons back at Pittodrie before leaving on a free transfer to Dundee Utd.
Now in his 30's he had a major falling out at the Arabs and ripped up his contract before heading to Australia to try his luck there. He played for Parramatta Power through late 2000 and 2001 before returning to play for Raith Rovers.
He had a brief period with Clydebank in which he was injured in his first full game.
Joe ostensibly retired as a pro in 2002 and trained for his coaching badges. He joined Clyde in June 2005 and was initially player/assistant manager to Graham Roberts but was appointed manager in 2006 following the departure of Roberts in a cloud of acrimony. In 2006, Miller took Clyde to the Challenge Cup final, the club's first national final in nearly 40 years.
He rejected a new contract there in May 2007 and since then he has worked part-time with Queen of the South whilst exploring other options. After spending 2009 as Dundalk's first-team coach, a frustrated Miller reported in August 2010 that he had been "blackballed" by Scottish clubs. His many job applications were ignored despite his experience, wealth of contacts etc.
Still seen at Celtic Park supporting the Celts, and still very much respected.
| ||LEAGUE||SCOTTISH CUP||LEAGUE CUP||EUROPE||TOTAL|
| APPEARANCES (subs) ||113 (39)||24 (2)||8 (5)||9(4)||150 (50)|
|Club||From||To||Fee||League|| || Scottish Cup || League cup || Other |
|Aberdeen||30/07/1993||31/05/1998||Signed|| || || || || ||4||0 (0)||0|
|Celtic||13/11/1987||30/07/1993||£650k||152 (0)||28||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
|Aberdeen||01/08/1985||13/11/1987||Youth||60 (0)||13||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0||0 (0)||0|
| || || || ||Apps||Goals||Apps||Goals||Apps||Goals||Apps||Goals|
Honours with CelticScottish Premier Division
QuotesQ: Where does that goal rank among your achievements at Celtic?
Joe Miller: "To this day you I’m still getting reminded of it by supporters. Throughout your career, it’s probably every boy’s dream to score for the team they support, and I was no different. There were a lot of other highlights in my career that I did enjoy. Being part of the double team the year before was immense and my debut, I enjoyed that. There were a lot of highlights but you are always remembered for that goal, which is sad in a way that they only pick out that goal. It wasn’t a particularly great game but we stopped Rangers doing the treble and it put me in the history books. "
Joe Miller 2011
The Bhoy In The Picture: Joe Miller
Written by St Anthony (from CelticUnderground)
Thursday, 14 April 2011 14:46
In mid November of 1987 I was working in the office one late Friday afternoon. No mobile phones, texting or internet in those far off days so if someone wanted to contact me at work they had to call the good old fashioned office landline. When I answered the phone my friend excitedly blurted out that Celtic had signed Joe Miller from Aberdeen for a (then) massive fee of £650,000.
This was sensational news and hard to comprehend for a number of reasons. Firstly, I couldn’t believe that Aberdeen (still a football force in Scotland at that time) would allow the hottest young talent in Scotland to join Celtic; secondly, Kenny Dalglish at Anfield and Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford were said to have been desperate for Joe’s signature; and thirdly, it was hard to grasp that the parsimonious Celtic board had splashed out such a huge amount of money. But word quickly spread around the office and it was clear that Celtic, fast approaching their centenary year, meant business. The joy was that the press did not have a sniff of the story and it was a tremendously pleasant surprise all round.
Joe Miller appeared in the hoops for the first time against Dundee on 14 November 1987. I cannot recall another Celtic player, on his debut, making such a huge impression as Joe did at Parkhead on that day. He gave a thrilling performance on Celtic’s right wing and scored in the process. Time and again he danced past hapless Dundee defenders to create chances for the Celtic forwards in a 5-0 romp. Celtic had been missing a quality player on the right flank since the demise of Davie Provan and here we had a player who was so exciting that people were quickly making comparisons with the great Jimmy Johnstone.
Joe went into Celtic folklore as part of the centenary double winning side of 1988. He played a major part in this and probably his most telling contribution was the dramatic last minute winner at Tannadice on Boxing Day when he scored with a diving header, much to the glee of the huge travelling Celtic support on that cold December day.
He had a marvellous match when he returned to Pittodrie in difficult circumstances in April 1988 and played his part in the dramatic Scottish cup semi final and final against Hearts and Dundee United respectively. In the summer of 1988 a long fruitful relationship was forecast for Celtic and Joe Miller.
However injuries and inconsistency were to curse Joe the following season. On 1st April 1989 Celtic found themselves 2-0 down at home to Rangers at half time and Paradise was not a happy place to be for those of us with a Celtic persuasion. Andy Walker pulled one back and all of a sudden Rangers were creaking under Celtic pressure. When Richard Gough conceded a penalty late on for hand ball it was Joe who grabbed the ball confidently for Celtic’s penalty, fighting off Roy Aitken in the process. His shot was weak and Chris Woods saved easily but the ball rebounded to him and he, inexcusably, fired his shot over the bar. That miss had cost Celtic the opportunity of a merited draw.
Redemption would not be long in coming. On May 6th Celtic played Hibs at Parkhead. A larger than usual crowd had turned out due to Scottish cup final tickets being on public sale at the turnstiles ( how times change !) for the game against Rangers two weeks later. Manager Billy McNeill had a dilemma as he was short of strikers. Frank McAvennie had recently departed to West Ham, Andy Walker had injured an eye and was out for the season and new signing Tommy Coyne was ineligible for the forthcoming final.
McNeill then gave Joe the number 9 shorts and he scored the winner in Celtic’s low key 1-0 win. One week later and Celtic had their final league game at Love Street. This game is best remembered for the media circus who followed Mo Johnston who was seated in the stand after professing his undying love for Celtic. Miller again scored the game’s only goal, running from halfway and scoring with a fine shot.
As the cup final loomed there were many of us who were confident that Joe could win Celtic the game. He had a new lease of life playing at centre forward, was expressing himself in a new attacking role and had clearly thrown off the shackles of being limited to playing on the right wing. And so it proved at Hampden. Many Celtic fans will remember the sweltering heat that day and also Joe’s winning goal when he took advantage of a Gary Stevens’ error to bring the old trophy back home to Celtic Park. Joe’s sharpness and pace had also continued to stretch Rangers in the second half. The memory of his horrible April penalty miss was banished on that scorching summer’s afternoon.
My recollections of after that game are of all hell breaking loose in Glasgow. I spent that night in the Queens Bar in the Gorbals and the journey back to Govan later that night was an enlightening experience. The Sunday papers told the news the next day of a night of violence throughout the city and even the windows in La Fiorentina’s restaurant at Paisley Road Toll were smashed. Maybe the authorities should have called for a summit back then.
McNeill’s gamble had paid off. Joe had played three games as Celtic’s striker and scored the only goal in each of the three games. Incredulously, McNeill was never to give Joe an extended run in the team as striker, which he had deserved, and it was back to the wing beat for the wee man.
By late 1989 a lot of strain was showing at Parkhead and Joe’s relationship with the manager became heated. In the League Cup semi final defeat to Aberdeen at Hampden, Joe had replaced Steve Fulton as a substitute but after Aberdeen had scored McNeill had decided to haul his sub back off which was both unnecessary and humiliating for the young Celt. Celtic lost 1-0 and it was clear all was not well.
Although this was not to be a great period for Celtic the talents of Joe Miller could still shine through. In March 1990 Celtic faced Dunfermline in a Scottish cup quarter final replay. Paul McStay started the night well with a typical long range thunderbolt shot to open the scoring and in the second half Joe clinched it. Running from the centre of the park he beat three Dunfermline defenders and when he was through on goal he managed to poke the ball past the goalkeeper for an exquisite goal.
In September 1990 he scored the goal of the season against Hibs at Parkhead when he played a one two with Dariusz Dziekanowski and crashed an unstoppable volley past Andy Goram from a tight angle. It was a stunning effort from a player who seldom showed this form that we all knew he had in him.
Liam Brady’s arrival in 1991 initially gave Joe renewed energy but when Brady signed the enigmatic Stuart Slater the writing was on the wall for Joe. Despite Slater’s unconvincing performances Brady continued to play Slater in an attempt to justify his heavy expenditure. And so, in the summer of 1993, Joe Miller returned to Pittodrie to sign for Aberdeen.
There can be no argument that Joe Miller made his mark at Parkhead. As a hero of the centenary team and the man who scored the winner in an Old Firm final he will always be fondly remembered by the Celtic fans he entertained. However there is a nagging doubt that we only scratched the surface of his talent and had Celtic played him regularly in a more natural attacking central role then Joe Miller may actually have gone on to fulfil his huge potential in its entirety.
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, May 21 2011, 3:18 AM EDT
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