Rangers captain James Tavernier is set on lifting the only domestic trophy he hasn’t won in his time in Scotland – but says his side will have to be at their best to get past Hearts in the semi-final.
The teams meet at Hampden on Sunday knowing that the winner will face Aberdeen or Hibernian in December with silverware on the line, and that incentive has Tavernier eagerly anticipating the match.
Rangers won the trophy in 2011 and the current captain is intent on ending that long run without success.
“It’s obviously a weight that we have to get rid of as soon as possible,” Tavernier said.
“With respect, we’ve got to get past Hearts first. We’ve got to get past that hurdle and then we can speak about the final and the chance to win a trophy.
“Hearts are going to be a tough team to play against and we’ve got to be at our best and get ourselves into the final.”
Tavernier has been a Premiership and Scottish Cup winner during his time as captain but hasn’t been able to complete the set of domestic trophies. And while is aiming to earn the medal he hasn’t won in his eight years at Ibrox, he says the players who arrived over the summer will be just as keen to make a positive start to their time at the club with a trophy.
“Every competition and every game gives us motivation to win,” he said. “If it’s a game on the training pitch then I’ve got the motivation to win.
“Obviously it’s a cup that I’ve never had my hands on. The boys will obviously try to do their best but we’ve got to get past Hearts first.
“They’re footballers. They came into football wanting to win things.
“Everybody in that dressing room wants to win. I know everybody that’s come here wants to win silverware and that’s our aim for the season. The boys know what to do.
“Obviously it would be good (to go on and win the cup). It’s the first trophy you can get your hands on and you can get in early.
“What the gaffer has wanted us is to take things week by week, month by month and take each game as it comes.
“We can’t think of a final or winning a trophy when we’ve got to play Hearts. We’ve got to get past that and move on from there.”
Rangers go into the game against Hearts having defeated Steven Naismith’s side in the league last weekend, bouncing back from a goal down to win with two late goals.
“It showed real resilience in the team and the mentality of the team not to give up,” Tavernier said. “We will always go to the last whistle and that’s what the manager wants us to do.
“It’s all in good stead for the games that come in the future.”
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