Rangers boss Michael Beale has heaped praise on defender James Tavernier despite today’s 1-0 home defeat to Celtic.

Beale is under increasing pressure having lost another big game this afternoon.

Kyogo Furuhashi’s first-half goal proved to be the winner with Rangers pretty toothless throughout.

17 shots but only three on targets tells its own story with Rangers unable to trouble a less-than-full-strength Celtic side.

Beale is already out of the Champions League, already four points behind Celtic and has already lost an Old Firm derby this season.

Many fans have already made their minds up and didn’t really see many positives – but Beale did defend one Rangers player.

Michael Beale praises Rangers defender James Tavernier

Some Rangers supporters are again turning on right back James Tavernier.

The Rangers captain certainly wasn’t at his best against Celtic, just like pretty much the rest of the Gers side.

The expectation is for Tavernier to step up for the big games and big moments, but it just didn’t happen today.

Tavernier is receiving plenty of criticism now and Beale has moved to defend his skipper.

As quoted by Rangers Review, Beale praised Tavernier as a ‘fantastic player’ for Rangers and praised his input over the last eight years.

Rangers FC v Celtic FC - Cinch Scottish Premiership
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Beale believes that people are now trying to ‘pick holes’ in Tavernier having lost a derby game, defending the right back as being somebody who contributes ‘enough’ for Rangers.

Beale also feels that Rangers fans would immediately notice his absence if he wasn’t in the team.

“James is our captain. I think he has been a fantastic and is a fantastic player for this club,” said Beale. “He is a right-back who plays against different wingers week in, week out, there is not a right-back in football who won’t be taken on once or twice. His contribution to the team is fantastic and if he wasn’t there everyone would see it straight away.”

“I don’t think there was anything in today’s game that was an eye-opener about James. I think that is harsh and it’s people picking holes for whatever reason. Are there areas of every player’s game that they can improve on? Of course there are. Does James play in a certain way as an attacking full-back, does he give us that width and go forward? Yes, he does. As our captain, I think James contributes enough for the team,” he added.

Tavernier has racked up over 400 appearances for Rangers and yet he still divides opinion.

Beale is standing by his captain but fans were looking for more from him today and just didn’t see it.

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