'No matter what': James Tavernier lays down Rangers Scottish Cup demands after Europa League heartache

James Tavernier insists Rangers will channel the hurt of their Europa League heartache into Saturday’s Scottish Cup final, and beyond.

The captain must pick up his team-mates – and himself – from the devastation of defeat on penalties by Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on Wednesday evening and bid for more silverware against Hearts in the domestic competition, at Hampden.

The challenge ahead is heightened not just by the emotions of the Europa League final shoot-out but also the quick turnaround for the match. With the chance of winning silverware still on offer, Tavernier insists they have to respond well.

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“It’s hard to take. I’m not going to lie. It’s very hard to take,” the captain said. “2008 was the last time we were in this final. We want to be in these games, playing against the best in Europe. We have to use this as fuel, especially for this weekend and we have a very important game.

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“It was a massive night, and we obviously wanted to put it over the line but didn’t. We’ve got to win this Saturday, no matter what.

"We will just use this as fuel, as motivation. It’s a cup final. There is silverware to be had.

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"We’ve got a great backroom staff who look after all the lads with the nutrition, the physios and the masseuses.

“There are top professionals in that changing room. We’ll do our very best to get back into peak condition for Saturday and we’re going to give it everything.

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Rangers' James Tavernier is applauded by Eintracht Frankfurt following the UEFA Europa League Final at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, Seville. (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

“It’s the last game of the season and I know every single one of the boys will be fired up when that whistle comes on Saturday."

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Lifting the spirits may be easier said than done. Disconsolate fans lined the streets of Seville in the aftermath and Rangers themselves rallied around Aaron Ramsey after the Welshman’s missed penalty proved crucial in the shoot-out defeat.

While Hearts is an immediate opportunity to bounce back and show a positive response, longer term, Tavernier believes Seville can be motivation to strive for more improvements at home and abroad, and strengthening with Champions League qualifiers to come in a couple of months’ time.

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“This is not the end of us. This is the start of something special with this team,” he continued.

“We want to be building from this to make the fans proud and really push on from this moment.

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"The manager said he lost the World Cup final but it’s football. It’s very hard to take but it’s got to make you stronger and we’ll be back fighting again.

“We have gone toe-to-toe with some of the best clubs in Europe. We have no fear whoever we’re up against.

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“We’ll continue to have that same mentality. Any team we come up against, we’ll go toe-to-toe with.

"With the squad that we’ve got, we’re always going to continue to build on it and bring players in.

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“We’ll continue to build. That’s what we’ve been doing over these past few years.

“This is the best squad I’ve been with and it’s only going to continue to get better and better.’



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