James Tavernier polarised opinion amongst Rangers fans when he first joined the club and it has been the same every season since.

A season as top goal scorer in the Europa League and a place in the competition’s team of the season still drew complaints.

Again, against Servette, he was the hero and the villain, a typical James Tavernier performance for Rangers, but former teammate Kenny Miller has come to his defence on Clyde Superscoreboard.

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The Gers skipper is more than just a penalty taker, any objective and rational thinking football fan can see that.

Some of his goals in the run to the Europa League final were incredible, rarely do you see full-backs of any other team getting into the same positions.

There is a reason why James Tavernier has so many goals for Rangers.

James Tavernier is the man Rangers can rely on

Speaking on the Clyde phone-in show, Miller explained why, despite his faults, Tavernier remains a key figure for Michael Beale:

“He’s the captain.

“That comes with extra scrutiny and responsibility as well, which again I think there’s been a lot of chat surrounding that over the years as well but, what he does, and I’ve said it numerous times on this show, he’s there every week.

“He stands up, he’s counted, he’s never hiding and more often than not, if Rangers need something, whether it be a goal or an assist or a moment, he’s always involved in some stage.”

Miller is right.

James Tavernier’s availability for Rangers has been incredible since signing in 2015.

For a ‘normal’ player it would be impressive but for one that covers the distances that he covers at the intensity that he plays is incredible.

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What we saw against Servette, almost perfectly, demonstrated what the 31-year old is up against.

The first-half saw him play poorly but the shape and system was also all over the place which left him short of options in attack and isolated in defence.

Beale made the changes required at half-time and James Tavernier produced the sort of performance that makes so important for Rangers.

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