Rangers’ James Tavernier joins century club but vows more to come

On his 30th birthday, James Tavernier indicated that the remarkable numbers he has compiled in his Rangers career still have a long way to run.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 8:00 am

Sunday’s 6-1 victory over Motherwell at Fir Park saw Tavernier reach the century mark of assists for the Ibrox club with the pinpoint cross which Fashion Sakala headed home to put the champions 2-1 up in first half stoppage time.

Buccaneering right-back Tavernier had already scored his 68th goal in 306 appearances for Rangers with the stunning equaliser which cancelled out Bevis Mugabi’s early opener for the hosts.

He went on to claim assist number 101 by setting up Glen Kamara for Rangers’ fourth goal and was only denied another by Kemar Roofe’s poaching instinct when he applied a superfluous finishing touch to Jack Simpson’s late header from yet another Tavernier cross.

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Rangers' James Tavernier celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the cinch Premiership match at Fir Park, Motherwell. Pic by PA.

All told, it was a near-perfect birthday celebration for a player who remains so crucial to the manner in which Rangers manager Steven Gerrard wants his team to perform.

“I was on FaceTime to my brother on my way into the game and I said that minimum I wanted was to win but I wanted to get an assist or a goal,” said Tavernier. “I am happy that I contributed a goal and two assists.

“I am devastated that Kem knocked Simmo’s in or I would have another assist!

“But I thought the boys were terrific.

“From the goal we conceded, from then on we stuck to the game plan and I thought throughout the whole game we were terrific.”

While Tavernier’s contribution was pivotal, it was Fashion Sakala who hogged the spotlight with a hat-trick as Rangers moved four points clear at the top of the Premiership table.

The Zambian international striker earned warm praise from his skipper.

“I try to contribute myself but I thought everyone else stepped up,” Tavernier told RangersTV. “We kept asking questions and we never let off.

“Fashion has been absolutely sensational for us in the game.

“He has been in the background, working hard, and he got his hat-trick and I am really proud of him.

“I thought everyone contributed so well and it gave us the opportunity to bring on subs and people to get more game time.

“Fashion worked hard from the first whistle to the last whistle.

“Whoever (from the bench) gave him the (energy) gel just before his third goal, that is an assist in itself!

“It was a great ball from Davo (Steven Davis) to get him his hat-trick.

“He worked hard, he got himself in those positions and he has been rewarded.”

Tavernier hopes that Rangers, who now turn their attention to Thursday’s Europa League test against Brondby in Denmark, can embark on a consistent run of form after an often less than convincing opening three months of the season.

“We have got to build on this,” he added. “We are in a good place.

“We knew we had to respond through the week (after the 2-2 draw at home to Aberdeen) and we did that.

“We were relentless through the second half and you can see with the amount of goals that we scored that we kept on asking questions until the final whistle.

“We kept after them and we weren’t letting off.

“We knew it had been coming.”


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