Lee McCulloch has claimed in his Evening Times column that he believes Rangers captain James Tavernier is being harshly treated by Gers fans following Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Celtic.
Tavernier was at fault for Celtic’s winner. His sloppy, underhit pass allowed Celtic to counter. It resulted in Odsonne Edouard picking out James Forrest, who slid home the winner past Allan McGregor.
The Rangers captain had impressed prior to his mistake. Indeed, it was one of his finer Old Firm performances – of which have been few and far between in recent seasons.
Fans have chose to criticise his role as captain as a result of his mistake. But a former Rangers captain in McCulloch has leapt to the defence of Tavernier, stating that he is an excellent captain – and it is a myth that he cannot defend.
“It is easy to point fingers at the captain and it is always him that seems to get it when things go wrong, that is part of the role at Ibrox,” McCulloch said. “James conducts himself well, he plays with passion.
“There is this myth that he can’t defend – I don’t agree – and when he makes mistakes he doesn’t hide. He has not let Gerrard down as a defender or a captain. He knows that he has to be thick skinned to have that honour at Rangers.”
Tavernier was impressive throughout the match. The fact Jonny Hayes, and then Scott Sinclair had little throughout the 90 minutes was testament to the captain’s work rate and determination.
However, his mistake cost Rangers. It was a lapse in concentration, an error that anyone can make. It has nothing to do with his captaincy, and whether he can defend on the whole.
So, McCulloch is bang on with his comments. Yes, Tavernier deserves criticism for his mistake, but he is an excellent captain and continues to prove he can lead his team on and off the pitch.