‘It would be criminal for us as a team to think it’s all over’: James Tavernier is adamant Rangers are NOT a club in crisis after slipping seven points adrift of Old Firm rivals Celtic… and Gers captain insists they CAN still win title
- Rangers’ fans are growing concerned their side is already out of the title race
- A first defeat in Perth in 12 years to St Johnstone has them seven points off Celtic
- Captain James Tavernier has dismissed any suggestions Rangers are in crisis
James Tavernier insists Rangers are not a club in crisis, despite sliding seven points behind arch-rivals Celtic.
Defeat to St Johnstone in Perth on Sunday ended with angry fans making their feelings known to the skipper and his team-mates outside McDiarmid Park.
And despite calls for the sacking of manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst after a miserable Champions League campaign and the loss of five points from their last nine, Tavernier has shot down talk of a crisis and believes Rangers can still win the league.
James Tavernier has totally dismissed any suggestions that Rangers are a club mired in crisis
Pressure is escalating on manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst as they are seven points off Celtic
‘It would be criminal for us as a team to think it’s all over,’ said Tavernier. ‘There are plenty more games to go and we’ll get better when the injured players come back after the break.
‘It’s definitely not a crisis. I have full belief in the team and what we can do. We have to put that into our performances.
‘There’s nothing to be worried about. But it’s down to us as a team to nail down the finer details in games and finish teams off. We’re only a third of the way through the season. We just have to focus on ourselves. We always aim to win every game and that’s going to be our focus.
‘We’ve got a game at home to put things right. We’ll leave everything out on the pitch.’
Tavernier believes it would be ‘criminal’ if Rangers’ players already conceded the title race
James Brown of St Johnstone celebrates the Perth side’s victory over Rangers at the weekend
While Tavernier exudes calm, supporters fret over recent performances and results. The defeat to St Johnstone was the first in Perth in 12 years, adding to the sense of a team going in the wrong direction.
‘We have had a couple of results recently that you don’t want to see,’ he added. ‘It is always a tight league and, when you drop points, it can send signals, especially to the fans, that it might get to the stage where they think it is a crisis.
‘But us players believe that we set ourselves out to win every single game. It is still early and we know within ourselves that we have got to keep pushing ourselves and keep performing and finish before the World Cup with two wins.
‘We beat Aberdeen 4-1 and then dropped points to St Johnstone. That is football. I don’t think there is any sport in the world that results don’t change quickly.
‘That is the beauty of football and it is down to us to go out and get three points. That is all we can do. We can only handle the game in front of us.’
Tavernier is pleading for calm as supporters begin to panic at their season already unravelling
Citing a ‘close’ working relationship with Van Bronckhorst, the full-back believes the manager retains the backing of the players, if not supporters.
‘I have a really good, close relationship with the boss. I see him regularly, more than the players see, but he has a great relationship with everybody. That is just the type of boss he is. He is really hands on with the team and everyone respects him,’ said Tavernier.
‘He has been the same all the way through. He knows this game and has been at the highest level you can be.
‘He has played for this club as well, so he knows the situation we are in. It will feel different being a manager but he will understand what the players are going through. That’s what he has relayed to the team.’