Rangers manager Steven Gerrard saw his side extend their run of consecutive wins to four games as they defeated Aberdeen at Ibrox and secured second in the Scottish Premiership – as well as there being a rare appearance from Lee Wallace.
Gerrard’s side knew anything less than a win would confirm Celtic as champions and the Light Blues put in an impressive performance against a stuffy Dons side.
The Gers immediately took control of the game as they dominated possession from the off and tried to find a way through the Dons defence without much success.
Gerrard’s side moved the ball around and looked comfortable dictating the tempo without ever really creating any proper chances to test Joe Lewis in the Aberdeen goal.
As the clock ticked towards the break, the Gers started to look a bit hungrier and began peppering Lewis goal with shots, forcing a few really good stops from the Englishman.
Rangers were awarded a penalty just a few minutes after the restart when Lewis Ferguson brought Niko Katic down six yards from goal.
Tavernier then stepped up and coolly dispatched his spot-kick to give the Gers the lead and score his fifteenth goal of the season.
Jermain Defoe should have made it 2-0 ten minutes later when a rebound fell to him a few yards out but the veteran striker fired over the bar.
Rangers had the ball in the net again shortly afterwards after Tavernier finished off a fantastic counter-attacking move, only for it to be ruled offside.
The goal encouraged Aberdeen to come out a bit more but the Pittodrie side never really made Allan McGregor work.
Tavernier doubled his tally for the afternoon with a second spot-kick to seal the three points with 12 minutes remaining.
Andy Considine and Niko Katic wrestled in the box before the Gers defender went down clutching his face and referee Don Robertson pointed to the spot again.
Tav’s penalty was expertly finished and put the seal on a comfortable win for the Gers.
Lee Wallace was given what was, presumably, a farewell as he looks set to exit Ibrox after eight years at Ibrox when he replaced Defoe in the final minutes to a tremendous reception.
Here we look at how Steven Gerrard’s side performed against the Steelmen.
Allan McGregor – 6
Barely involved in the first 45 and not involved that much more in the second.
James Tavernier – 8
The captain was an injury worry pre-match but showed no signs of it in the clash with the Dons. Not quite as effective going forward without Candeias ahead of him early on but still created a number of chances. Really started to impose himself more as the game wore on. Scored two penalties.
Connor Goldson – 7
Very little to do defensively as Aberdeen were largely camped in their own half. Used the ball well when called on.
Niko Katic – 7
Croatian won pretty much everything that came his way. Doing his chances of a prolonged run in the first-team no harm at all. Won a couple of penalties.
Jon Flanagan – 7
A solid showing at left-back from Flanagan. Nothing spectacular but cleared his lines and tried to get forward in support of Ryan Kent. Not the answer long-term but he fills a gap.
Glen Kamara – 8
Never looked flustered in the middle of the pitch as he sits and sweeps everything up. Finnish international has been an absolute steal for Rangers and Dundee must wish they’d never frozen him out.
Steven Davis – 7
Continues to get better with every game and strolled through the 90 minutes. Northern Irishman’s class shone through with some of his touches and passing. Definitely looking worth having around next season. Replaced by Ross McCrorie as the game wore on.
Ryan Jack – 7
Subdued performance against his old club in the early going but grew into the game and done what was needed by Gerrard’s side. Really starting to click with Davis and Kamara in central midfield and get a good understanding of where each other is.
Scott Arfield – 7
Not as effective as he’s been recently but it’s the first time he’s played alongside Ryan Kent in his new, advanced role. Had a couple of half-chances and some nice passing but didn’t control the game as he has in the last two or three games.
Ryan Kent – 7
Back in the side after a two-game ban and looked keen to impress. Liverpool winger looked sharp and he tried some clever touches. Given a bit more freedom with Arfield starting ahead of Daniel Candeias. Final ball lacked at times but Kent was always trying to cause problems for Aberdeen. Replaced by Candeias late on.
Jermain Defoe – 8
The veteran striker showed his quality again as he caused all sorts of problems for the Aberdeen defence. Some of Defoe’s movements and passing are fantastic and he was unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet. Another really good performance though and Gerrard will have a tough decision next week when Alfredo Morelos returns.
Substitutes: Ross McCrorie (6), Daniel Candeias (6), Lee Wallace (6)