We’re going to do something rare on Ibrox Noise, and give James Tavernier a bit of the love that he’s rarely ever had on this site.
We’ve been as harsh on him as anyone, and in fairness, his performances have often left a lot to be desired over the years. No one can fault the ridiculous goals return, but the defending is the old metaphor:
It’s like the plumber who is a dab hand at the fuses too, and goes to help his sparkie mate, all the while leaving his own job in the bathroom dormant as the place floods.
That’s Tav, and he was at it again today for the sparkie, saving the day with a big goal.
But guess what?
Did you notice he was under strict instruction NOT to bomb forward?
Barely a cross was put in by him, mainly because Philippe Clement instead put Ross McCausland as a wide striker in a surprise auxiliary tactic, making sure he came in central for a lot of crosses.
This mean Tav was not really used as an attacker in this one, with next-to-no overlaps, and guess what?
He had probably his most disciplined, sharp, and deservedly match-winning performance we can remember in literally years.
By sitting back, Aberdeen did not get the routes down the left flank they normally would – there was just no passage there, passage which would be there in spades if Tav was bombing up all the time.
Clement changed Tav’s system, and made him actually play his role – and it worked perfectly.
Rangers’ defence wasn’t really tested much at all, and what weak stuff there was the rearguard repelled with ease.
Unlike at Pittodrie, the bombing balls forward for Miovski weren’t working because Rangers worked as a unit to shut it all down.
In short, Clement learned from his Pittodrie errors and snuffed the Dons out with ease.
And it meant Tav had his best game for months, if not longer.
He actually defended, he sat back, and he STILL got forward for the winning goal.
Well done Tav, maybe you’ll make it as a Rangers player after all 😉