The record-breaking Rangers enigma of James Tavernier

The record-breaking Rangers enigma of James Tavernier
Tav celebrates a massive, massive win (Credit Rangers FC)

The James Tavernier story continues to be quite the media scrum in Scotland, not to mention the UK.

The Rangers captain broke the all-time record for British football and defenders when he scored the most any defender ever has in the game on these isles, racking up a preposterous 131 goals in 450 appearances for the Famous, which, for a defender is astonishing.

There is, however, a double caveat to this remarkable record – 65 of those goals were penalties, so an infinitesimally small amount over 50% of his goals were not penalties, and some might use that as a slur.

But that he’s bagged 65 of the 82 penalties he’s taken shows a stunning level of consistency as opposed to demeaning the quality of goal he’s scored.

The reality is when Tav became the number one this weekend, it did highlight the insane scoring level he’s achieved, even if he’d be among the first to admit it’s slightly cost him in terms of defensive acuity.

Because, primarily, he’s supposed to be a defender, but he isn’t, is he? He is a false 9, a 10 even, who helps out at the back.

You just don’t score 22 goals in a season if you’re a defender, simple as that – albeit again half of them are penalties.

Even 9 goals (he’s bagged 13 penalties this campaign) in a season for a defender is completely outstanding, the fact he’s so clinical from the spot is a bonus.

We at Ibrox Noise would be the first to say he’s dipped this calendar year – after stats among the top three in defending till December, he’s dropped a fair bit off the past three months, and he’s even missed a few penalties as well recently.

But this also happened in 55, he dropped off in January – it’s what he tends to do. He throws everything into the first four or five months then runs a bit out of gas.

But you just cannot argue with the record.

If Rangers didn’t have the most miserly defence in Scotland, we could definitely point the finger at his supposedly poor defending, but we do, so it’s a redundant issue.

Tav will always divide fans a bit, frustrating those who get weary of him on every set piece and every penalty, while also neglecting his defensive duties now and then, while his fans will always point to the goals and the number of times he’s saved the team almost single handedly.

There’s a reason he’s the top-ranked SPL player on all the stats sites.

And his manager Philippe Clement appears to be quite happy with him.

Who’d bet against Tavernier making the difference again this weekend?

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