Rangers are currently level on points with Celtic on the top of the table. Even in Europe, they occupy the second spot in Group G. However, the table is still quite tight, and they could have done even better than that if not for some individual errors from James Tavernier.
The club captain was once again in the firing line as he missed a penalty against Motherwell in the first half when the home side was trailing. However, Tavernier got away with the miss as Rangers managed to stage a comeback and Helander’s late header rescued all three points. But it cannot be ignored that some section of the fans had booed Tavernier and that is not always a pretty sight on a football pitch.
Tavernier on latest criticism
The English fullback recently responded to the criticisms. He said (Daily Record), ”There is no time to feel down. I am captain of the club; the gaffer gave me that responsibility, and I have got to lead by example. I can’t be leading by example if I am not showing up and not being strong and being positive with the boys.
”The gaffer and the staff have got belief in me, and I have to repay them, the boys and obviously the fans. That is part of football, and you are always going to get criticism. I am a big enough character to deal with it, and I know how to deal with it.”
Tavernier is now an experienced campaigner, so one would expect him to deal with the latest criticisms.
What should Gerrard do?
With Flanagan back from his hernia operation, we think that the manager could give Tavernier some rest for one or two games. Tavernier has played consistently for Rangers over the past few years. This season already he has 20 appearances to his name in all competitions. He hardly gets a breather, and maybe a bit of rest could do a world of good to him.
Gerrard though recently indicated that he doesn’t have many options beyond Tavernier at right-back. Flanagan might fill in for him, but the attacking play could suffer as the former Liverpool man is a more defensive-minded fullback. However, after the emergence of Borna Barisic, we think that Rangers can afford to play Flanagan at one side in some of the games with the Croatian bombing forward from the left.
Nobody makes mistakes intentionally on the pitch, and the fans should realise that the players often feel much worse than them when they are directly behind errors which cost the team. Gerrard too iterated the same sentiments after the Motherwell game as he urged (The Express) the fans to back the players when they are down instead of piling on more pressure on them.