JAMES Tavernier says it a “massive honour” to be named as the captain of Rangers as he prepares to lead the team out, in competitive action, for the first time since receiving the news.
The full-back was called in by Gers gaffer Steven Gerrard last week and asked how he would feel about wearing the armband this season. Tavernier led the side as a stand in captain during the 2017/18 campaign from February onwards.
Now he will take on the role on a permanent basis and while the news is still sinking in he admits it is not a job he will be taking likely.
Speaking exclusively to RangersTV he smiled: “I am delighted to be given the captain’s armband by the gaffer and for him to put the trust in me is a huge compliment.
“I found out last Wednesday morning when the gaffer called me into his office and asked what I thought of the idea and I couldn’t stop smiling, I was over the moon. I really am excited.
“He asked me where my head was and I said I was fully committed to this club, that I have unfinished business here and I want to see this club do well.
“I could never have imagined being named captain of Rangers when I first arrived here but I always knew one of my ambitions was to be a captain one day. I have always seen myself as a leader and this has come at a perfect time.
“The gaffer said the time I have spent here over the past three seasons and the work I have done since he has been in made him think I was the right man to lead the boys.
“The gaffer told the rest of the team the next day so I had to keep it a secret for a day.
“It was in tough for me though because of Lee Wallace, Waldo has been my captain since I joined Rangers so I made sure I spoke with him first to get his blessing.
“He is there for me if I need any advice or anything, he is a top lad and he said if I need any help in any areas then he is always there for me.
“Last season I stood in as captain and it was more a case of I could only influence things on the pitch and by that it was to try and lead by example.
“I am going to do the same this season but I have more responsibilities and duties off the field now so it is going to be exciting.”
Tavernier and his Gers squad go into the first qualifying round of the Europa League tomorrow evening. In their one public warm-up game the Light Blues swept Bury aside in a 6-0 win.
FK Shkupi come to Ibrox this week before the return leg in Macedonia on Tuesday and the skipper says it will be a special night.
He continued: “There were plenty of positives from the game on Friday night but we must remember we are still in the early days.
“I feel the team itself is progressing really well and the performances have been good, if the boys are playing better then I will play better. It is working really well and the management staff have been pushing us all in the right direction.
“It will be so special walking out on Thursday evening, the European nights have always been known at Rangers.
“We won our first leg last season but it was a difficult ending to it and we don’t want the same to happen this time. We want to put a great performance on tonight.
“Last season was a massive blow, we knew we came back early to play the European games and we got knocked out.
“To lose like we did and to know we missed the chances we did at home was hard to take, we don’t want the same to happen again.
“We have to be commanding at home and when we go over to Macedonia on Tuesday we have to be demanding. We have got standards and we can’t let them drop, we know we have to set an example against Shkupi.
“All I would say is that this time around we have got a very good squad and the gaffer has put us in the right place to be where we want to be.”