JAMES TAVERNIER believes Rangers’ unbeaten start to the season has highlighted the strength and depth of squad Steven Gerrard currently has to work with.
With 10 wins and two draws so far in 2019/20 the Light Blues’ captain is understandably pleased with his side’s recent form, with last night’s sensational 1-0 victory over Legia Warsaw taking the club through to the group stage of the Europa League.
The players’ focus has now turned to Sunday’s massive Old Firm clash at Ibrox and Tav is determined to help Rangers make it three home wins on the bounce in one of the world’s great derby fixtures.
He said: “First and foremost we obviously want to beat our rivals, that’s what we want to do.
We’ve kept two clean sheets in the last two games [against Celtic at Ibrox] so we’re obviously strong going into this game as a defensive unit and as a team.
“We want to do the same, we want to keep a clean sheet, so we’ve just got to stick to the game plan and do what the management team tells us to do. We’ll obviously create chances in the game.”
Alfredo Morelos’ dramatic late goal was enough to secure the victory over Legia and on the first day of the league season Connor Goldson headed home a 90th minute winner to clinch a 2-1 away win at Rugby Park.
Tavernier continued: “I think this just shows the resilience in the team.
“We’ve shown signs – in the Kilmarnock game – how we don’t stop until the final whistle and that was another big factor last night.
“We stick to the game plan and we wear teams down. We always create chances and we did that last night. The result is obviously a great boost for the squad and for the club.
“It’s obviously early, but we have started the season off really well and we always want to go into an Old Firm and get the three points no matter what. That’s our aim this Sunday.
We have already hit the target of getting into the group stage of the Europa League, where we wanted to be. We now want to win our first Old Firm game.
“The squad has changed a lot, we’ve improved throughout all the departments, and I think all the new boys are really looking forward to this game.”
With 10 goals already this season – eight coming in Europe – Morelos will be hoping to open his account against Celtic this weekend and Tavernier believes his Colombian teammate is showing signs of maturity.
He said: “Players will try and intimidate him during the game, but it’s up to all us senior lads just to try and keep him cool.
“But like the gaffer touched on, we want him to be that fiery character on the pitch. It always brings out the best in him but so far this season he has been channelling it really well so hopefully that continues.”