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SPOT ON: TAV’S HAMPDEN TARGET

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JAMES TAVERNIER hopes to be put on the spot if Rangers get a penalty-kick against Hearts in the Betfred League Cup semi-final at Hampden on Sunday afternoon.

The Ibrox skipper has missed THREE spot-kicks this season, with the latest coming last week in the tight 2-1 victory over Motherwell when he slammed one against Mark Gillespie’s left-hand post with the visitors leading heading towards the interval.

Tavernier was baled out by Jermain Defoe’s equaliser and Filip Heldander’s late diving header for the winner.

The former Wigan defender realises the expectation levels of the team’s followers as Gers aim to end an eight-year wait for a major trophy.

Following last season’s second-place finish behind champions Celtic in Steven Gerrard’s first campaign in charge, the Ibrox side have Hearts, who sacked manager Craig Levein yesterday, in their sights.

Tavernier was coy about whether or not he would still be on penalty duties for the last-four clash and told Sky Sports: “We will have to see if one comes.

“But, yes, I am definitely confident to take another penalty.

“I had a quiet chat with the gaffer. He has my back and so do the staff and all the players are right behind me. It takes a bit of a weight off your shoulders.

“You know you have the full backing of the staff, you don’t have to worry too much. You can just go out there and express yourself.

“It is a great showing by the fans last night singing my name, so it was good. It’s part of the game, you will have ups and downs.”

 

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Editor

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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