JERMAIN Defoe praised the character of captain James Tavernier for allowing him to net his first Ibrox goal.

It was Defoe’s second goal for the Gers since joining on loan from Bournemouth last month. The striker was allowed to take the fourth of four penalties that Rangers were awarded on Saturday afternoon.

Tavernier scored two and missed one while the 38-year-old bagged the other. Defoe won two of the four spot-kicks.

Speaking to RangersTV Defoe said: “It was very pleasing because as a forward you always want to score. The most important thing is to get the three points but as a forward you get judged on scoring goals.

“For the captain to give you the ball when he is on a hat-trick it says a lot about his character and it says a lot about the spirit of the team.

“I was surprised when he gave me the ball because he was on his hat-trick, not many people would do that! Credit to him, he is a great guy – he wanted me to get my first Ibrox goal. I can’t remember the last time a full-back scored a hat-trick but he got his two goals.

“He showed great character to be honest because a lot of players if they miss a penalty they hide a little a bit but he wanted to step up and take it again.

“There aren’t many games you get four penalties! The first one is a clear penalty and the second one there was contact but I didn’t really look for the penalty.

“I was a little bit surprised when he gave it because when you watch it back I bounced back up and then he blew the whistle.

“Maybe if it was outside the box he would have given a free-kick and that’s why he’s given it. The referees are just trying to do their job.

“There are still so many things that we can improve on, I think the manager said that after the game but you can’t always play well and win, sometimes you play bad and you win the game.”

It was Defoe’s first experience of a full house at Ibrox as he played competitively at home for the first time – a moment he admits he had been waiting for.

He linked up in a front two with Alfredo Morelos for the second time from the start and believes he and the Colombian will develop well together.

He continued: “I always knew it was a special place to football and I feel blessed because at the end of the day towards the end of their career have the opportunity to come to a big club and play in front of amazing and passionate fans.

“I remember being at home in Bournemouth watching the European games and I had a conversation ages with my agent about the atmosphere.

“I knew I would get a lot of chances before I came and I knew a lot of teams would come here and sit off and make it difficult for us.

“I feel like if we move the ball quick and create the chances I know we can then it is good for the fans, they’re in for a treat. There were so many areas in the game today where we could have done better.

“It’s good playing with Alfredo, he is so sharp, he is aggressive and I can see why he has scored a lot of goals. I can imagine a lot of defenders hate playing against him, he is relentless, he is always running.

“I was exactly the same at 22, when you are that age you are just hungry to score goals, which is a good sign. Hopefully this season we can cause a lot of defenders problems.”

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