JAMES Tavernier said Rangers succeeded in their mission to “get in the faces” of NK Osijek as the Gers progressed to the third qualifying round of the Europa League.
Nikola Katic headed the Light Blues ahead just after the break from a Tavernier free-kick before the Croatians equalised with a scrappy late goal – a moment the captain described as devastating.
Rangers put on a superb show in front of a packed out Ibrox to go through as 2-1 winners and now face Maribor next week after they defeated Georgian side Chikura 2-0 on aggregate.
Speaking to RangersTV Tavernier said: “We are delighted with the boys, I thought everyone put in a great shift tonight but we are devastated we conceded so late. I am proud of the performance we put in, especially second-half.
“The gaffer spoke about taking the second-half from Wigan into that game and I felt first and second-half this time we took it to them, got in their faces and they turned the ball over to us.
“I was raging about the goal and I was devastated when it went in the back of the net, I think it went through Josh’s legs and clipped my heel and then went through my legs.
“It is just one of those things, after keeping so many clean sheets and when have really been solid at the back, to then concede late is frustrating.
“We have got it over the line though and we are delighted to be into the next round.
“Tom Culshaw has been getting his book out on his set pieces but we have got really aggressive boys in the box and it showed today.
“You have seen what Niko and Connor do at the back, defending the goal kicks and then you can see what Niko can do in the box tonight and in the Wigan game.
“They are really aggressive and we are delighted to have those boys who can attack the ball when we put deliveries in.”
Allan McGregor once again stepped up to produce some game shaping saves and Tavernier believes he is a big part of the turnaround at the back under Steven Gerrard.
Premiership action returns this Sunday with the Gers travelling to Aberdeen in an exciting opener.
Tavernier continued: “Working with him has been great; he has made some really great saves when we have needed him and saves that have kept us in the game.
“We have three really good keepers who can all do a job but Greegsy has done a great one since he has been in the net. Nights like this create really good spirits and a good team for the season.
“I feel the boys are gelling so much and they are getting stronger, we have a good squad and we even have a strong bench. We are going to push ourselves.”