Earlier we discussed Ridvan Yilmaz’ imminent start at Fir Park in Borna Barisic’s place, and concluded the story with the flippant comment that we’d love to see the same competition on the other side.
Because it’s plain to see, isn’t it, that Rangers captain James Tavernier, whose season has been well below his capable levels, has absolutely no competition, no risk, no danger, and absolute laziness with regard his role at Ibrox.
Nathan Patterson, one of the best products Auchenhowie has produced and the best since Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor, was in fact deemed inferior to Tavernier, despite being sold for more than the ex-Wigan man will ever be worth, and was rejected to the bench.
Tavernier simply cannot be touched, having gained immunity under Steven Gerrard when the ex-manager awarded him the captaincy permanently.
This season we see what happens when a senior player has absolutely no competition for his shirt – he gets complacent, and when his only real recent contribution is nicking every penalty that any other player wins, you do wonder exactly what his merits are.
That Patterson, the best RB to come out of Scotland since Alan Hutton (and infinitely better at defending) was unable to displace Tavernier shows the immunity and immortality the captain has, regardless of sporting merit.
Now, this may sound like we’re slaughtering him, and in some ways we are, but we bought into his quality during the first half of 55 when he was absolutely sensational, scoring and assisting at levels which made the whole of Europe raise an eyebrow.
So we know at his best he is a very good player – but he’s never been a great defender, and we haven’t seen his best in the rest of the game for quite a long time now, and not since January 2020, when his form during 55 deteriorated rapidly.
Meanwhile, Barisic, looking over his shoulder at Ridvan, has raised his game and is now justifying his selection completely, being ‘reBorna’ under Michael Beale and fending off the young Turk.
That’s the difference competition makes, and Tavernier has none.
Before you all yell Adam Devine at us, he’s not even a 10th of the player Nathan Patterson was, in the same position, at the same age. It’s just (understandable) romance that makes fans want to believe an Academy product deserves a chance. Is he better than Tav? No, he’s far inferior and will eventually leave Rangers and have a career in the Championship at best. If he was good enough he’d get more opportunities, even as a sub (which he doesn’t). And again, before you yell it, even a modest player can have one good match, hence many supporters point to the display at Dingwall.
But this isn’t about Devine, it’s about Tavernier – he’s an example of an untouchable player getting complacent, not earning his position and letting his standards drop. Just 6 assists this season in 44 appearances shows where he’s at – ignore the 12 goals, 11 of them were penalties. Now that doesn’t make them less goals, but it’s a classic example of lies, damn lies and statistics.
But it’ll never change. Rangers will never sign a quality RB to give him competition, because a quality RB isn’t going to stay at Ibrox and sit on the bench if their performances merit more.
It’s why Patterson left, and it’s why Rangers will always leak goals down Tav’s side unless Jacko is at his best and playing.
And, that’s really that folks.