An unexpected hero: James Tavernier


Rangers fans would have to go
back to January 2008 for the last time the side had a right back of any note.
His name was Alan Hutton and many
blue hearts were broken when he agreed an exit to English giants Spurs that
winter transfer window, to be replaced by the frankly utterly sub-standard
Steven Whittaker.
Whittaker spent more time being
out of position than providing tactical awareness on the right of defence, and
his successors included the ghastly Anestis Argyriou, the reasonable
Sebastien Faure, the brief and impressive but instantly discarded Kyle
McAusland then the utter mediocrity that was Richard Foster.

When Rangers were linked with,
then signed, Wigan’s James Tavernier to attempt
to solve that trouble spot, few fans had any hope he would be anything other
than a decent piece of the Mark Warburton machine. Indeed, trialist for that
position Reece Wabara had miserably failed in training to impress the new
manager, and did not even feature in any friendly matches before exiting Murray Park
It was basically down to the
Latic to fill the void.
A few weeks later, three
performances down the line, and Tavernier’s impact can be summed up thus:
A beautiful free kick from 20
yards, an assist, a fine goal, and numerous marauding runs down the right,
linking up impeccably with Law, Shiels, and Waghorn in particular. Oh, and a
fantastically intuitive reading of the game with near-impeccable positional
sense – this lad knows when to get forward, when to defend, and when to
He also happens to be superb at
tackling, with timing of the highest quality.
In short, James Tavernier has
been a truly exquisite signing who looks like he is more than capable of
playing for an SPL Rangers.
His goals, his play, ‘that’
backheel v Peterhead; at the level Rangers play at Tavernier is strolling through
matches with complete ease, and appears to have plenty in reserve should
Rangers make the step up.
Is he as good as Hutton; well,
harsh truth is Hutton never really nailed it in the EPL, becoming something of
a journeyman RB – so it might not be a completely invalid comparison to weight
them up against each other. He is certainly better than any player Rangers have
had since Hutton in that slot.
Tavernier will only get better –
the one weakness is some slightly errant crossing, but as his understanding
with his team mates improves, so will that.
He even understands what playing
for Rangers means:
“Words can’t describe how I’m feeling!! I’m
so proud and honoured to have signed for @RangersFC #WeAreThePeople”
Rangers have a right back we can
trust. It has been a long time since that was the case.


  1. Absolute bargain! Only 2 games in and he looks solid up and down the right, if we're ever chasing a game I can also see him on the left cutting in on that excellent right foot of his. McKay covered tav well when tav pushed up. Needs to work on his crossing a bit though, nit picking to say the least

  2. I'm on board with the Gaffer's approach. Every time the guy opens his mouth, common-sense comes pouring out. Blind Freddie could see the improvement in the passing, the movement into space to give team mates options, the pace we now have in the team, and the desire to move the ball quickly.
    The fitness level, even at this early stage, is tremendous. Hibs and Peterhead tried to pressure Rangers, high up,
    in the fist half, knowing our desire to play out from the back. They were, partially, successful in that. However, the effort required to do that took it's toll in the last third of the game. That's when Rangers killed them off.
    All of the teams we face this season will have a choice to make. Either they will cede territorial dominance and ball possession early to Rangers, or risk getting ripped to shreds later in the game. I suspect that those who witnessed the cup games will adopt a more defensive approach from here on in.
    That will require Rangers to develop plays that will break packed defences down. I think we have the players to do that well. Wide men and players who can switch the play, quickly, from side to side, coupled with players who can burst through the gaps when the defences are stretched and players that can play quick little passes for them to run on to will be vital.
    I'm impressed with the players we've got just now. The central defence, and the goalkeeper, haven't been tested too much yet. Wallace, as usual, and Tavernier are relentless, getting up and down all day. I like young Holt and Halliday a lot. Miller looks dangerous again and looks as fit as ever. Waghorn will, I predict, score a barra' load and become a firm crowd favourite. All of the players are doing well so far.
    I'm finding it hard to curb my enthusiasm these days. What a welcome change throughout the entire club. Onward and upward.

    C'mon the Gers!

  3. A long time indeed, unfortunately I am the age bracket that would even dismiss Alan Hutton, no disrespect to Alan here I loved him, But Tavernier in my mind is as good as one of my all time favourites in this position……Gary Stephen !!!!!

    • Gary Stevens you mean?I reckon this boy will be tremendous for us for a few seasons,then he'll go to the EPL for big money.

  4. This guy sums up everything we need to know about Warburton,how did every team in England miss this guy's potential.In Warburton we trust WATP

  5. When Rangers bought ex Wigan’s James Tavernier for only £200K to solve the right back spot, we could only hope he would be a decent Mark Warburton signing. By that I mean, someone who had come through a good academy (in his case Newcastle), had been loaned out to other clubs to gain first team experience and was still young and hungry to prove himself at a higher level, – well he has already done that. I agree entirely
    about Alan Hutton being our only good right back in the last 7 years, although he was a much better attacking full back than defender. I said yesterday that ex Hibs Steven Whittaker, who cost us £2 million pounds was my pet hate as he cost us a lot more goals than he helped us score due to his total lack of awareness of what was going on around him in defence. In fact I cannot understand that the present Scotland Manager still includes him in the Scotland set up, can he not see what I can see?
    I loved when your article said of him, 'To be replaced by the frankly utterly sub-standard Steven Whittaker' well written and bang on assessment of his ability. Whittaker spent more time being out of position than providing tactical awareness on the right of defence. It didn't take long for W & W to decide that trialist Reece Wabara wasn't good enough for Rangers, another good decision if he knew he could get James Tavernier for the money they eventually paid for him. Let's hope that Mark and Davy (W & W) keep making these great decisions.

  6. Warburton has unearthed a real diamond here, best right back we have had in years, seems a complete player already. Watp

  7. Might I suggest a little calming of this overreaction. James has played very well to date but its important that we don't put too much pressure on him. Some of the social media comments are unbelievable. Let the guy enjoy his football and develop. Team game!

    • That's life at Rangers ya lump a wid!
      He seems the type that will thrive under P anyway,enjoy his football and develop.The fans haven't seen a good player for a while and are excited over the boy.He'll be just fine mate so keep the negative pish ti yirsel!!

  8. Thinks its a positive observation with the player's best interests at heart. Too high a level of expectation on any individual is unfair. He has played very well in 3 games to date and I'm sure will thrive as the season progresses. However, over the top, exaggerated expectations might impact on his performance. I prefer to communicate with individuals who are able to conduct civilised conversations without reverting to childish, unoriginal, mundane yelps. Pause a while and consider your response – readers will take you a little more seriously and you will retain some self-respect.

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