Rangers captain James Tavernier makes strong statement on Scottish pitches after latest 'cow field' at St Johnstone

Rangers captain James Tavernier believes more should be done to improve the quality of pitches in Scottish football.

Tavernier and his team-mates managed to overcome St Johnstone 1-0 to progress to the fifth round of the Scottish Cup despite playing on what Ibrox manager Michael Beale labelled “a cow field” at McDiarmid Park. It was the third time in six days that Rangers had played away from home on a challenging surface, with the heavy pitch at Hampden last Sunday for the Viaplay Cup semi-final against Aberdeen widely criticised, while Beale’s men had to also deal with the sticky artificial turf at Kilmarnock during the week.

“You saw the pitch, it was obviously tough to play on,” Tavernier said. “You have to try to play on the pitch the best you can. You just have to assess the situation the best you can. You don’t want to be playing any square balls that can be cut out and you have to be careful with back passes. But we are professional and used to it. We are just happy that we got through to the next round. I expected it because earlier in the season we played on it and it wasn’t the greatest. I expected it to cut up really bad, which it did. We can’t use that as an excuse we just need to be happy that we got the goal and the clean sheet.”

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Asked if he was disappointed with the condition of the pitches in Scotland, Tavernier responded: “You look at Ross Co and Motherwell and they’ve always got really good pitches to play on. County are a club so far north in a small stadium and they still manage to keep the surface really good. There shouldn’t be any excuses. All the pitches should be grass at the end of the day. It’s something that needs to be done to improve the Scottish game so it looks better from the outside. But, as I say, we just need to get on with it and try to play the game the best we can.”

James Tavernier and his Rangers team-mates were unimpressed with the pitch at McDiarmid Park.

Rangers recorded yet another win under Beale, who came in back in December, and Tavernier was pleased to get through such a challenging period. “It has been a tough week,” added the right-back. “To go to extra-time at Hampden then play on astroturf and here and to see the wins out and get the wins we need is really important. It’s character building and we have seen good mentality from the squad. We are creating momentum, we need to have it and we need to sustain it now.”