Liam Miller admits the dissipation of the Celtic fans' vitriol towards him is helping him through his final days as a Hoops player. The Irish international was castigated by angry Celtic fans after signing a pre-contract agreement with Manchester United in the winter break.

A groin injury kept him out for the first few months of the year and it looked like he would be spared from ever appearing for the first team again before he left to go south in the summer. But a fit-again Miller was needed to help out during the current injury crisis at Parkhead and the midfielder has now made substitute appearances in Celtic's last five games.

With each passing appearance, the Hoops fans' condemnation has become more muted, for which the unassuming Irishman is grateful.

He said: "I take it day by day and get on with the football. Of course, it's easier now the fans have calmed down and when you don't hear the booing and stuff, then it's not going to be as bad. So it's obviously helped in that way. And to be honest, I don't really get any bother from the fans outside the ground which is great and they just wish me all the best. And that's nice."

With midfielder Alan Thompson suspended for the UEFA Cup quarter-final second-leg against Villarreal on Wednesday, Miller, who came on for the Englishman in Sunday's Tennent's Scottish Cup semi-final win against Livingston, could actually get a starting berth in Spain.

But Miller is taking nothing for granted, saying: "I've just came back from injury and worked hard to get back into the team. It was unexpected to get on so early against Livingston but you've got to be ready and it was nice to play a part.

"We'll wait and see about Wednesday but there's no indication if I'm going to be starting or even on the bench. Fitness wise it's getting better every day in training and in every game I'm involved in. I would be delighted if I did start but that's up to the manager."

Miller, however, accepts the Parkhead side have their work cut out to survive in the tournament after a 1-1 draw in Glasgow in the first game.

He said: "They are a decent team, they wouldn't have got this far if they weren't. They try to hit you on the break and it's not just about one or two flair players, they work hard as a team. Obviously we'll need to score over there which we're well capable of doing, but we'll wait and see how it goes."

Filed by Johnny Proby