SCOTTISH FOOTBALL: James Tavernier happy to play up-front for Rangers

Rangers James Tavernier
Rangers James Tavernier

Rangers right-back James Tavernier insists he is more than happy to wing it as a striker if Mark Warburton needs him to push forward once again in future.

The Englishman was handed a surprise attacking brief by his boss when Gers took on Celtic in last month’s Betfred Cup semi-final.

Tavernier’s understudy Lee Hodson was drafted into the team for the Hampden clash as Warburton sought to put the shackles on Scott Sinclair.

That freed up Tavernier - who struck a club-record 15 goals for a defender last season - to slot in on the right-hand side of Gers’ front three as the Ibrox side looked to make the most of his eye for goal.

However, the ploy was not enough to shoot down Brendan Rodgers’ Hoops, who marched into this month’s final thanks to Moussa Dembele’s last-gasp winner.

Former Newcastle and Wigan player Tavernier enjoyed the experience, though, and says he is more than willing to give it another go if Warburton comes calling.

“I was a little bit surprised when I found out I was playing there but I was excited to have the chance to be higher up the pitch.

“I am quite used to that position though, I can play higher up in games even if I am playing right-back.

“I did the job that day but I do see myself as a right-back - but if the gaffer needs me to fill in anywhere I am happy to do so.

“People always talk about the threat that Celtic have and I thought Lee and I nullified that down our side for the whole game and we were happy with the performance but not the result which was a killer blow.”

Tavernier was back at right-back as the Light Blues produced their slickest display of the campaign so far with last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Kilmarnock.

But he reckons Hodson’s presence is brining the best out of both he and left-back Lee Wallace.

“Lee is a great lad and he has done well when he has been in that position,” said Tavernier. “It is totally down to the gaffer who he picks. I just have to put on the best performances when I play to keep hold of that spot.”