RANGERS early season form has seen some swashbuckling football laden with a multitude of goals that seen the side win every competitive game they’ve played so far.
Today was something of a different tale.
Against a well drilled Hibs team, a stunning free-kick from ‘Man of the Match’ James Tavernier midway through the second half secured yet another three points for Mark Warburton’s side in front of yet another full house at Ibrox.
It was a hard-fought victory, and afterwards, Tavernier spoke to RangersTV.tv and he admitted his delight at helping the team claim yet another victory.
He explained: “We go in to every game with a gameplan to play football, and we did it again today. We’re a little bit disappointed with the first half performance where we dropped to their tempo, but we managed to dictate things in the second half and pass the ball better.
“So we’re happy with the win and the clean sheet for the defenders as well.
“A lot of it was down to them taking the tempo out of the game – you saw at every throw-in they took their time over it, and it was disappointing the time wasn’t added on at the end of the game.
“We took control in the second half though and played at our tempo, moved the ball quickly, and that benefited us.
“A win is a win, and regardless if it’s an ugly game, we want three points every time, and our main aim is to send the fans home happy and I think we did that again today.”
The free-kick winner the Englishman struck truly was a thing of beauty, but it’s probably best left to the man himself to explain his thoughts on the wonder goal.
“I was over the ball with Lee Wallace, and I told him I was going for the back stick,” he said. “If I was going to cross the ball for the lads the ball would have been lower, but I felt the back-post was a good place to put it, and I’m thankful it went in.
“A couple of seasons ago when I was at Rotherham, I scored two free-kicks in one season, but it’s something I’ve added to my game. I’m glad they’re coming off as I’m practicing them in training all the time, and if I can produce them on days like today to take a bit of pressure off the team then I’m happy.”
At times Rangers were under some pretty severe pressure from the Hibs frontline, but a combination of poor finishing, good goalkeeping and some quite superb tackling prevented them notching on the scoreboard, and, while it’s often easy to forget, Tavernier’s first job is to defend, therefore he was thrilled to keep a clean sheet.
He added: “We’ve got a great team with a great defence and great goalkeeper, and as a back four, keeper and Andy [Halliday] sitting in front, we were terrific today and we didn’t give them much of a sniff in front of goal.”
Two league games at Ibrox and two sell-outs is a quite tremendous response from the Rangers fans to their new-look team, and Tavernier admits he and the rest of the players thoroughly appreciate the tremendous backing they received.
He said: “It’s fantastic. The fans have come out in their numbers and the way that they sing and get behind the team had the hair on the back of my neck standing up at the beginning of the game.
“It was phenomenal to hear it. We want to send them home happy in every game home and away, and I’m just glad that we did that today.
“We have a lot to learn from today, but once we’ve done that, we can move on from there.”