'He will bounce back' - Why key Rangers player's recent failures won't be his 'downfall'

When James Tavernier missed three penalties in five attempts last season, it was just one indicator of a general unreliability in a Rangers side unable to go the distance in the title race.

Rangers teenage full-back Nathan Patterson, pictured challenging Tony Andreu, made his fourth appearance of the season as a substitute for James Tavernier in the 5-0 win over Ross County at Ibrox. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Rangers teenage full-back Nathan Patterson, pictured challenging Tony Andreu, made his fourth appearance of the season as a substitute for James Tavernier in the 5-0 win over Ross County at Ibrox. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

When the Rangers captain suffered a second successive failure from the spot at Ibrox on Saturday, it was simply the tiniest of glitches for a well-oiled machine which is motoring relentlessly towards lifting the Premiership crown.

There was never any question of Ross County goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw’s 13th minute save from Tavernier having any negative impact on this contest for Steven Gerrard’s side.

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Already 1-0 up through the outstanding Ryan Kent’s early header, nothing was going to throw them off their stride as they set about opening up a 23-point lead over Celtic at the top of the table.

Rangers captain James Tavernier suffered his second successive failure from the penalty spot when this attempt was saved by Ross County goalkeeper Ross Laidlaw at Ibrox.(Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Filip Helander and Joe Aribo had them cruising by half-time and by the end of a mostly one-sided affair, County were probably relieved the eventual margin of victory was limited to 5-0 after second half goals from Ryan Jack, back from injury with an impressive substitute appearance, and Connor Goldson.

It was an afternoon which also allowed Rangers manager Gerrard to hand highly-rated 19-year-old right-back Nathan Patterson some much needed game time as the Scotland under-21 international replaced Tavernier for the last half hour.

Patterson spends much of his time on the training ground under the wing of Tavernier, soaking up as much information and advice as he can. He has no doubts the Ibrox skipper will be unfazed by his personal disappointment from the spot against County.

“I don't think Tav will be too down about missing a penalty,” said Patterson. “He has scored a lot this season and really helped the team.

“He practises them every day so I don't think it will (lead to a) downfall in his performance.

“He's a great player and I think he will bounce back really well. Tav is great with me. Each day in training he's talking, trying to help me improve my game. I'm all for trying to get as far as I can in the game, so I really embrace it.”

It was just a fourth appearance of the season for Patterson whose only start came in the Europa League win at Lech Poznan in December.

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But while opportunities as Tavernier’s deputy are limited, the teenager insists he has never considered seeking a temporary move elsewhere in order to get more regular football.

“Going out on loan is not something that has ever crossed my mind,” he said. “I'm just focused on being at this club.

“It's obviously great knowing you have the backing from the coaching staff and especially the gaffer.

“So it's obviously just about making sure you're ready when the opportunity comes your way.

“I'm always making sure I give myself the best chance. I take any chance that I can get. I've really embraced each opportunity.

“It's showing on the pitch and I'm just looking forward to getting more minutes and helping the boys to get some more wins.”

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