Speaking on Open Goal’s Keeping the Ball on the Ground podcast, former Rangers star Andy Halliday has hit out at the supporters of the club who frequently criticise captain James Tavernier.

Tavernier, who joined the Gers in 2015 from Wigan Athletic, has worn the armband for almost every game of Steven Gerrard’s managerial reign at Ibrox.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – DECEMBER 29: Rangers manager Steven Gerrard reacts with James Tavernier of Rangers during the Ladbrookes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The Englishman is an all-action full-back who has made big contributions in recent years but regularly finds himself scapegoated by large sections of the support as soon as things start to go wrong.

Halliday, who was released earlier this summer but played alongside Tav for five years, struggles to see why his former teammate is so frequently singled out.

“I personally think the criticism Tav gets from Rangers fans is ridiculous,” he said on Open Goal’s Keeping the Ball on the Ground podcast. “I don’t understand it.”

“It’s bizarre to me – he’s probably been Rangers’ best player over the last five years since he’s been at the football club. He leads by example in his performances and day-to-day.

“The returns he’s got? Everyone says ‘aw he’s not as good a defender’, but who is? What full-back is better defensively than they are going forward these days?”

Halliday defends Tavernier from Rangers fan criticism – Verdict

There’s no doubt that Tavernier is one of the most heavily and frequently criticised members of the Rangers squad.

Supporters point to a lack of trophies won under his leadership and several high-profile defensive mistakes committed in recent seasons.

Yet, there’s often a refusal to acknowledge all the positive work that he does from right back.

Halliday isn’t the first teammate to speak of Tav’s qualities both as a player and as a leader, while he’s helped his side to keep five consecutive Premiership clean sheets and his tally of 21 assists across the previous two league campaigns is unparalleled.

Rangers captains and managers have always been judged on silverware won and while the current skipper isn’t perfect, he’s has had to deal with disadvantages his predecessors never faced.

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