James Tavernier sends warning to Celtic as Rangers ‘raring to go again’ after international break

Alfredo Morelos and James Tavernier

Skipper James Tavernier insists Rangers will be “raring to go” after the international break as they bid to wipe out Celtic’s two-point advantage in the race for the Scottish Premiership title.

The Ibrox side have had a largely unconvincing start to the season, dropping five points in their first seven league games and also losing both of their Champions League matches so far.

Celtic’s surprise defeat away to St Mirren in the last round of domestic fixtures, however, means Rangers remain within striking distance of their city rivals as they prepare to return to action against Hearts at Tynecastle this Saturday.

“Obviously the first block of games, we were disappointed with the Hibs game and losing the men (John Lundstram and Alfredo Morelos were sent off) and taking a point there,” captain Tavernier told Rangers TV.

“The performance at Parkhead (in a 4-0 defeat), we didn’t like that performance at all that we put in.

“But there are only two points in it in the league so there are a lot of games to play. It is still early in the season. The boys are raring to go to get it kicked off again.

“It is down to us to keep our standards and the levels of consistency going through the games to create a real good momentum heading into the games.”

Champions League defeats damaging

Rangers lost three of their last four matches before the break. That included a 4-0 Champions League humbling away to Ajax and a 3-0 defeat at home to Napoli.

“The Champions League, we wanted more out of the Ajax game. We wanted to implement our style of play, which we didn’t do,” said Tavernier.

“I thought we did that against Napoli and for 60 minutes we played really well.

“Then you go to 10 men and it can be a struggle. We conceded three penalties, Greegsy (Allan McGregor) has done wonders to keep two out, but that is football at the end of the day.”

Tavernier is relishing Saturday’s lunchtime showdown with Hearts.

“It’s another good fixture, nice early kick-off after the break,” he said.

“The boys are preparing themselves right and we’ll be fully focused on wanting to leave there with three points.

“It’s about trying to keep the crowd quiet and implement our style of football. The fans are right on top of you and it’s a stadium I like to go to. It’ll be nice to go there midday. I’m looking forward to it.”

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