James Tavernier set to eclipse host of Rangers legends
With 77 goals and 105 assists in his 332 appearances since joining the Ibrox club seven years ago, monitoring the marauding right-back has been a full-time job for stattos and analysts.
Even by his own standards, Tavernier is on a particularly hot streak at the moment with six goals and two assists in Rangers’ last nine games.
The highlight moments in that sequence have been his four goals in the Scottish champions’ last three Europa League games - netting three times in the stunning 6-4 aggregate win over Borussia Dortmund in the knockout round play-offs and once again as Red Star Belgrade were beaten 3-0 at Ibrox last week in the first leg of the last 16 tie.
It means Tavernier has now moved level with a quartet of bona fide Rangers legends to share third place in the Ibrox club’s all-time list of European scorers.
The 30-year-old claimed his 12th European goal when he made the breakthrough against Red Star, matching the totals recorded by three icons of the 1960s - Ralph Brand, Jimmy Millar and Alex Scott - and 1990s fans’ favourite Jorg Albertz.
Tavernier is now on the verge of going out on his own in third spot. The only two men ahead of him on the list are his team-mate Alfredo Morelos, who extended his record-breaking haul with his 29th European goal for Rangers against Red Star last week, and the peerless Ally McCoist who scored 21 times in Europe amid his phenomenal total of 355 goals for the Ibrox club in all competitions.
Rangers captain Tavernier, of course, sees his figures benefit from his now unchallenged status as his team’s first choice penalty taker.
But that should not be allowed to diminish the achievement. Tavernier’s level of expertise from the spot is admirable, as is his ability to hold his nerve in the kind of pressurised moments and crucial stages of games that those penalties were awarded in the recent Europa League assignments.
Nine of Tavernier’s European goals for Rangers have come from penalties with the other three in open play.
In all competitions, he has now scored 38 penalties since joining Rangers from Wigan Athletic for £200,000 in the summer of 2015 and failed to convert eight times.
In terms of productivity, Tavernier has taken 54 European games to reach the 12 goal mark - a strike rate of one in every four-and-a-half games. Impressive stuff from a full-back.
But Morelos remains the European king for Rangers by that metric, the Colombian striker averaging a goal every 1.9 games. Only Ralph Brand, with a rounded figure of a goal every two games with his dozen in 24 European appearances, came close to matching Morelos’ ratio.
Previous record holder McCoist’s European goals came at a pace of one in every 2.6 games.
Rangers all-time leading scorers in Europe
Alfredo Morelos - 29 goals in 56 games
Ally McCoist - 21 goals in 54 games
Ralph Brand - 12 goals in 24 games
Alex Scott - 12 goals in 28 games
Jimmy Millar - 12 goals in 31 games
Jorg Albertz - 12 goals in 44 games
Nacho Novo - 11 goals in 42 games
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.