'Absolutely gut-wrenching' - Barry Ferguson admits he is 'praying' for Rangers ace

Rangers legend Barry Ferguson has admitted that he is “praying” that James Tavernier’s recent injury blow is not serious.

By Jason Jones
Saturday, 20th February 2021, 11:40 am
James Tavernier of Rangers. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
James Tavernier of Rangers. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The Gers skipper was forced off during the first half of his side’s dramatic 4-3 win over Royal Antwerp in the Europa League on Thursday night after picking up a knock to his knee in a 50/50 challenge.

It is understood that the defender will miss “the next few games”, but there’s no concrete indication just yet as to exactly how long he will be ruled out for, or who Steven Gerrard will turn to at right-back in his absence.

And having experienced the thrill of lifting a Scottish Premiership title for Rangers himself, Ferguson is hopeful that Tavernier doesn’t have to go through a diluted version of that historic moment.

Writing in a column for the Daily Record, he said: “If injury robs him of the chance to play his part in the title run-in then it would be absolutely gut-wrenching for a guy who deserves it more than anyone.

"I used to milk the trophy presentation moment. When we won the treble in 2003 I stood up on the ledge at Hampden at the top of the famous steps just so I could savour for an extra wee minute or two.

“The way I used to see it, I wasn’t just going up to collect that silverware for myself – I was going up there for my team-mates, family and most importantly the hundreds of thousands of fans who support you.

“But I was lucky in that I’d won major trophies before I was captain.

“James Tavernier hasn’t, so when that moment arrives it will be huge – and nobody deserves to milk it more than the Englishman.

“He should go and enjoy it because it proves the hard work he has put in. He has been pilloried and he deserves the opportunity because he’s never hidden when he was getting criticism from certain quarters.

“Tavernier always gained my respect for refusing to hide and at some stage it was going to pay off for him and he has been excellent this season.

“He has become a proper leader. Tav has taken games by the scruff of the neck at times when they’ve been tight. He’s led from the front and has always been available – until now.

“I knew as soon injury suffered in Belgium on Thursday night proves, he’s not a robot and we will have to await the results from today’s scan to discover just how bad it is.

“But I’m praying it’s short term and he doesn’t miss the next couple of months because the timing of it couldn’t be any worse as we approach the final straight in such a historic season.

"If one player deserves to lead his team through this final push then it’s him because he’s been through the mill and had the criticism of having never won a major trophy thrown at him.

“He’s come through the other end and, while in the last month his form hasn’t been at the level it has been this season, Tav has been unbelievable overall in this campaign.”

Tavernier has enjoyed a stellar season at Ibrox, scoring 17 goals and assisting 15 more across 41 appearances in all competitions.

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