James Tavernier once again underlined his importance to Glasgow Rangers as Steven Gerrard’s side routed Ross County to extend their lead over Celtic in the Scottish Premiership.
A goal from Kemar Roofe gave the Gers the lead before the club captain finished from close range, Callum Morris diverted the ball into the back of the net, and Jermain Defoe added the icing with a lovely finish on the turn to mark his 800th senior appearance in his professional career with a goal.
Whilst Roofe opened the floodgates, Tavernier was the real standout, as the Bradford-born right-back has defied the critics to establish himself as an integral part of Gerrard’s side, which has coincided with their resurgence in form since the start of the season.
Once again, the club captain produced another near-perfect performance, having scored his ninth penalty of the season against Standard Liege in the Europa League at Ibrox on Thursday night.
As per SofaScore, the 29-year-old was given a high grade of nine out of ten for his efforts against Stuart Kettlewell’s side, as Rangers largely dominated proceedings from start to finish.
Tavernier’s penchant for scoring goals from right-back has led to some, including legendary Ibrox gaffer Walter Smith, describing him as one of the most impactful full-backs in the world, as he has bagged 10 times and 7 assists in 16 games in the Scottish Premiership so far this season.
But it is his defensive contribution that cannot be ignored as the Gers restricted the Staggies to just one shot on target in the entire game, as Harry Paton’s powerful strike was comfortably saved by wily goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
Tavernier, who currently earns wages worth £14,000-per-week, played the full 90′ minutes and he did not disappoint, as he won three out of his six ground duels, won both of his aerial duels, and made one tackle, whilst he wasn’t dribbled past at all, which implies that he put in a defensive shift.
The free-scoring full-back looked comfortable in possession and confident on the ball, as he took 96 touches in total, made one key pass, produced 47 out of 62 passes (76%), created one big chance and took one shot on target, two shots off target and had one attempt blocked.
As is often the case, the Rangers skipper found himself on the scoresheet once again, as he took advantage of a deflection to register his 16th goal of the season. The monster defender then had a cross deflected in by Callum Morris to cap off an impressive performance.
It’s fair to say that if he can continue his current run of form, it’s hard to see his understudy Nathan Patterson getting a chance in the starting line-up anytime soon, as the captain has started every single game in the Premiership so far this season.
With both Borna Barisic and Tavernier bombing up and down the flanks, Gerrard’s side are looking like a force to be reckoned with at this moment in time.