The Rangers reminder from Tavernier that kept title race alive as he reveals 'standards' shift after Beale D-Day

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James Tavernier was Rangers MVP once again as his two late goals put Philippe Clement's side two points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Few have experienced the high and lows that Rangers captain James Tavernier has.

So often the Ibrox talisman, so often the fall guy. Signed for just £200k by former manager Mark Warburton in the summer of 2015, the Gers skipper has seen it all in his 9 years at Ibrox. Success. Failure. Joy. Heartache. All have all played a part in Tavernier's journey in Glasgow but there were few darker days than October's 3-1 defeat to Aberdeen at Ibrox.

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Leaving Rangers seven points adrift of Celtic after just seven games, few believed Tavernier and his team mates had what it took to turn it around. Yet here we are four months later and a 3-0 win at St Johnstone has Rangers two points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

"It (the defeat to Aberdeen in October) was obviously so early in the season and there was so many games left to play, so many points to play for" said the Gers defender. "The gaffer came in, raised the standards and we had to fully focus on each game at hand keep chipping away, only worrying about ourselves. We can only affect ourselves and I think we’ve been really good at the moment. We just need to keep this momentum going" he explained.

While the Gers skipper is no stranger to being top of the pile, it has been almost two years since he has experienced it. Asked if being two points clear represents a new level of pressure for this Rangers side, Tavernier's response is focused. Balanced. Measured.

“There is always pressure, no matter what stage you’re at in the season, even half way through," he explained. "I said after drawing against Aberdeen away that there was plenty of games left and we just have to focus on ourselves. We’ve got great momentum at the minute and everyone in the team is chipping in with performances.

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“I thought Dio (Mohamed Diomande) on his first start got a great goal, so hats off to him as he’s been a real asset for us. So has Oscar (Cortes) and so has Fabio (Silva). Dujon (Sterling) also came on and made a real impact down the right side so I’m delighted for the squad with the way we’re heading. We can always improve and we’ll continue to ask ourselves to do that" he added.

Tavernier has proven to be a character Rangers can rely on. When times are tough, he has faced the cameras. When times are good, he points to the efforts of his team mates.

His role occasionally called into question, the Ibrox captain has proven to be one of Rangers 'reliables' and in Sunday's win at McDiarmid Park, his two late penalties saw him reach an astonishing 120 goals for the club.

His first penalty, in particular, held some of amount of pressure yet his celebration - much like his penalties - was cool, calm and collected. With expectation firmly on his shoulders, he delivered for his club once again to put them in the driving seat in the title race. He would be entitled to revel in it a little but for Tavernier, it's simply about taking the next step forward with Rangers.

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"I had only eight or nine goals before I joined Rangers. It’s obviously a great achievement. I just want to keep helping the team and pushing myself, and see where it ends when I eventually hang up my boots one day. I was delighted with the three points we got on Sunday as well as the clean sheet. They didn’t have a shot on goal, which is the most important thing.

"We’ve always concentrated on each individual game as they come and getting the three points. We’ve got to be fully focused on that as there are plenty of games left to play" he added.

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