Tavernier says Rangers squad are giving Clement selection dilemma

The Rangers captain says competition in training is fierce.

James Tavernier says Rangers squad are giving Philippe Clement selection dilemma SNS Group

James Tavernier believes Philippe Clement is facing selection headaches after returning Rangers to the top of the cinch Premiership on Sunday.

Amid a busy fixture schedule, the Belgian boss again reshuffled his pack for the tense trip to St Johnstone, this time with five changes.

The 32-year-old Gers skipper scored two late penalties to add to Mohamed Diomande’s first-half opener in the 3-0 win.

Victory moved the Light Blues above Celtic at the top of the table, after being seven points behind their Old Firm rivals when Clement took over from Michael Beale in October.

Substitutes Dujon Sterling and Tom Lawrence won the spot-kicks to allow Tavernier to score his 18th and 19th goals of the season, 120 in total since arriving in Govan in 2015.

With the league, the Scottish Cup and Europa League still available – and the Viaplay Cup already in the Ibrox trophy room – Tavernier spoke about the strength in depth of the Rangers squad.

The full-back said: “It gives us huge confidence because what people don’t see is on the training ground we are all pushing each other and everyone is asking to be in the starting 11 and anybody who is asked to come on the pitch is putting in really good performances.

“So it is a headache for the gaffer to select the XI but anyone he selects is doing a really good job for the team and that is the main thing.

“As the gaffer said, we are creating a story together and we need everyone to chip in until the end of the season.

“It is a great place for the fans and the club.

“We feed off our performances and how well we are playing as a team, not letting teams get a shot on target against us.

“That’s what we aim for – the clean sheets and the variety of chances we are creating now is really pleasing, we are always asking questions.

“The scoreline could have been more and I am delighted it was 3-0, clean sheet and on to the next one. We always had belief in our team, the players that we have.

“The gaffer came in and upped the bar with the way we are playing, the demand that he wants for us all.

“We need to continue, not become complacent and keep demanding because there is still a long way to go in the competitions we are in and we just want to make the fans happy and us happy with our performances.”

Clement talked positively about the leaders he has in the dressing room and Tavernier agrees.

“We have great leaders in the squad,” he added. “We all feed off each other and the manager believes in the leadership and we continue to amplify his message towards the lads.

“It starts every day at training, really pushing our standards but there is no place for being complacent. We need to keep pushing ourselves to be better.”

Tavernier admitted that his goals tally was unthinkable when he arrived from Wigan almost nine years ago.

“Especially as I had only eight or nine goals before I joined Rangers,” he said.

“It’s obviously a great achievement. I just want to keep helping the team and pushing myself and see where it ends when I eventually hang up my boots one day.

“I was delighted with the three points we got on Sunday as well as the clean sheet. They didn’t have a shot on goal, which is the most important thing.”

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