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Following a fall-out with manager Pedro Caixinha, veteran striker Kenny Miller has been exiled from the Rangers first-team picture.

The disagreement reportedly came after the Portuguese boss was critical of several of the Gers' Scottish contingent in a team meeting following September's 2-0 Old Firm derby defeat to bitter rivals Celtic.

Miller was not involved in Rangers' squad in the recent trip to Hamilton, and was again left out last weekend for the 3-0 win over St. Johnstone. Caixinha moved to cool the situation by insisting that a hamstring problem was precluding Miller's selection, but rumours of a deeper issue persist.

As one of the Glasgow club's most experienced players, and indeed the side's vice-captain, Miller's knowhow and leadership, as much as his prowess in front of goal, will be missed by Rangers.

The 37-year-old Scotland striker, who is out of contract at the end of the current season, has played over 700 career games, and has had spells in England and Turkey as well as his vast experience in the Scottish Premiership.

If Miller's absence is to continue, Ranger's will need to find another on-field leader to step up. Here are three contenders.

Graham Dorrans

Once a regular with West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League, Dorrans has the calibre to step up and be relied upon as a leader for Rangers. The 30-year-old midfielder spent ten seasons south of the border, split between a spell with the Baggies and three campaigns with Norwich City.

The 12-cap Scotland international moved to Ibrox this summer in a deal reportedly worth £1.3million, and he has re-acclimatised to life in the Scottish Premiership quickly, chipping in with four goals in eight league games for the Gers so far this term – including a double on his debut against Motherwell in August.

A senior professional and native of Glasgow, Dorrans ticks the boxes for stepping up into the Miller-shaped leadership hole currently left in the Rangers side. And, unlike the exiled striker, at 30, the former Livingstone man still has plenty of good years ahead of him.

If Rangers hope to close the gap to champions Celtic this season, they will need players like Dorrans, who has the quality to elevate the Ibrox club to the next level, to lead by example.

Ryan Jack

A boyhood Rangers fan with experience captaining one of the Scottish Premiership's best sides, Jack is leadership material.

Signed from Aberdeen this summer on a three-year-contract, the 25-year-old has spoken of how representing the Gers is a “huge honour and a privilege”, and he clearly wears the shirt with pride.

Having already cracked Caixinha's starting XI on a regular basis, starting eight times in the league so far this season, the former Scotland under-21 international is a natural fit for a prominent leadership role, given that he was skipper at Pittodrie Stadium.

Caixinha also evidently believes in Jack. “I believe 25 is a great age for him to come here,” the manager told the club's official website upon signing the player in June .

“He had three years as captain of Aberdeen and has that experience, he also understands what it means to represent Rangers.”

The one worry with Jack, however, is his disciplinary record, with two red cards to his name already in 2017/18. If he wants to be seen as a key player for Rangers, he must be reliable and consistent – for that, he needs to stay on the pitch.

Bruno Alves

Another newcomer who has the experience and class to become a Rangers leader, and one who is much closer to Miller on the age spectrum, is 35-year-old Portuguese centre-back Alves.

Brought in from Italian side Cagliari in the summer, the veteran defender, who has been capped a staggering 95 times by the reigning European Champions, has been at the top end of the European game for well over a decade, and offers a level of knowhow and nous that is arguably unmatched within the Scottish top flight.

In addition to his native Portugal, Alves has starred for teams in Russia, Greece, Turkey and now Scotland. Signed to a two-year deal, the former Porto man is unlikely to be a fixture at Ibrox for too long, but Rangers would be wise to maximise his vast experience while they have him.

SPL