RANGERS skipper James Tavernier may be relieved of penalty-kick duties after his THIRD miss of the season in yesterday’s 2-1 win over Motherwell at Ibrox.

With the team trailing to a Devante Cole goal for the Fir Parkers in the first-half, the right-back won a spot-kick after going down under a challenge from Liam Polworth who was less than delighted with the call from referee Andrew Dallas.

However, Tavernier failed to convert with a low drive that smacked off Mark Gillespie’s right-hand post and bounced to safety.

The Gers levelled just before the interval after a howler from the keeper when he inexplicably punched a shot from Steven Davis straight to Jermain Defoe who accepted the gift to knock it straight into the net.

GOAL HERO MK 1…Jermain Defoe celebrates his equaliser against Motherwell.

The points were wrapped up when Swedish centre-half Filip Helander headed in a right-wing corner-kick 10 minutes from time.

Tavernier has come in for some heavy criticism with fans unhappy with his recent spot-kick blunders against Hearts and Young Boys.

But Steven Gerrard has asked the frustrated supporters to lay off the boos and help the defender through his difficult spell.

The Ibrox gaffer, speaking to the Scottish Sun, said: “I will consider taking James off pens.

“I don’t think I have to make that decision right now, but it will certainly be on my mind over the next 24 to 48 hours.

“I don’t think you can doubt James’ character. He knows that in the last couple of weeks, he’s in the firing line.

GOAL HERO MK 2…Filip Helander is delighted after his winning header.

“But, I’d like the crowd to help him a bit more. Sometimes when it’s tough and you’re not at your best, you need your crowd to be with you rather than against you.

“So, there’s a plea for the crowd to stay with him because he will play through it and he can change games, like he did for us today.

“It was an excellent delivery (from the corner-kick) for Filip’s goal and a fantastic header. But James needs his people now – it’s important.

“There were a few groans and moans and it doesn’t help. I understand it. I totally get it. I was just as frustrated as them.

“But when you are a player in the firing line and not everything is going for you, you need your people with you. You need your team-mates with you.

“Big players are going to have dips. But when you feel them on your back even more, it is very difficult to play through it and find form as quick as you can.”



About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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