James Tavernier has thanked Rangers boss Steven Gerrard for the “kick up the arse” he needed to get his campaign back on track after admitting he had become too complacent over his spot at Ibrox.
The Ibrox captain came in for criticism from his own supporters after two high-profile mistakes in quick succession as Gerrard’s side lost to Young Boys and drew with Hearts.
Gerrard publicly backed Tavernier in an attempt to help him rediscover his form and the right-back has been one of Rangers’ most consistent players recently as they closed the gap to Celtic at the top of the Premiership table totow points with a game in hand.
Tavernier is grateful for the tough love that Gerrard showed him during a difficult spell. He said: “It has boosted me massively. I suffered a bit of complacency and felt too comfortable and it showed in my performances when I was making some mistakes in games I wouldn’t normally make.
“You almost need a kick up the arse when it comes to stuff like that and the gaffer was rightly there to do that and I appreciate him for doing that.
“Every lad needs a little push every so often. You don’t want to hear from staff that you’re not getting pushed and he was right there and the staff were all behind me at that time and backed me and showed great belief in me and I’ve got to repay them as well.”
Tavernier has often split opinion among Rangers supporters but he could now just be months away from leading the Light Blues to a title.
The Englishman has once again been linked with a move to Newcastle this month but Tavernier has no intention of leaving, with his focus fully on chasing that Premiership crown.
He said: “My contract is here and I’m fully committed. We’re halfway through the season, in a great position and my family are settled. In football it can sometimes be out your hands but I’m delighted to be here and want to continue.”