Rangers captain James Tavernier inks a new deal to keep him at Ibrox until at least 2024. What does this mean for the club going forward?
Ladies, gentlemen and Celtic fans – football is back! Now, I know, it was only the 3rd round of the Scottish Cup and it was only Cove Rangers, an encounter that no amount of “Rangers derby” media hype could ever make exciting, but it’s still football. I’ll take the Gers playing Cove Rangers, or Berwick Rangers or Anyone Rangers over the alternative any day, believe me.
Not that we have to wait too long for something more to stick our teeth into, as the light blues host Hibs on Sunday, in the Premiership we’ve already won. Of course, that invincibles claim still hangs in the balance and teams that play in green should always be put to the sword, so it’s going to be a meaty game regardless of facts on the ground.
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Speaking of clubs in green, much of the talk during the international break relates to our friendly neighbours Celtic – in a year in which, delightfully, the media has plenty of ammo to fire in their direction. Now, as we remain in the mourning period for their lost manager and secret blue agent Neil Lennon, they search ever more desperately for someone – anyone – to take his place at the helm of the Titanic.
hile the Hoops busy themselves with that red herring, Rangers have set about locking down their 55th title winning team to long term deals and ensure continued dominance. We wrote before about Glen Kamara nailing his light blue colours to the mast and now it seems James Tavernier, our skipper and unquestionably the best defender in Scotland, has followed suit.
The right back was set to enter the last 12 months of his contract at the end of the season, but has now dispelled all doubts (did anyone actually think he’d leave?) and committed to Rangers until at least 2024. Tavernier had the following to say, as quoted by the Scottish Sun;
"“I am delighted to extend my contract at this magnificent club. As soon as I arrived six years ago, I soon realised how massive this club is.It isn’t a club really – it’s an institution. To captain Rangers to our historic 55th title is a memory I will hold forever. It is a privilege and an honour to pull on the famous royal blue, and adding the captain’s armband makes it even more special.As we celebrate our 150th anniversary, I am mindful that there is much more work to be done to ensure we uphold the values of Rangers.I will continue to strive to be better as a player, captain and make sure we continue to set the standard higher than before. 55 wasn’t the end of the journey, it was only the beginning.”"
I’m not crying, you’re crying. Oh captain, my captain. Any additional words here from me would only take away from how powerful this quote really is, but suffice it to say that it’s clear that he never had any intention of moving on so long as the club would keep him.
All the better too, Tavernier is sitting in the middle of an absolute worldie of a season. He’s Rangers top scorer, yes from right back, with 14 goals in all competitions (11 in the Premiership) and also has managed to collect a whopping 10 assists to boot. That would be stunning statistics for an attacking player at the end of the season, but for Tav in April it’s simply mind blowing.
Not to be let down defensively, the skipper leads the club in average tackles, interceptions and clearances per game. This may not mean much to some, but consider Rangers have only conceded some 10 goals in 33 matches this season – undoubtedly Tavernier has made his mark just as much in this department as anyone, also.
With all that said, it’s hard not to be excited at the approach the Gers are showing. We aren’t a selling club, the talk of financial difficulties and needing to offload talent is myth at best and scare-mongering at worst. Under Steven Gerrard, Rangers are looking to usher in a new era of dominance in Scottish football, not simply take the 55 and run. Tavernier is, of course, a big piece of that puzzle too. Forget international football, Ibrox is where it’s at and Rangers are flying the colours.