Steven Gerrard insists opposition attempts to shut down James Tavernier are nothing new for Rangers

With 17 goals and 14 assists to his credit so far this season, James Tavernier’s status as Rangers’ most dangerous player isn’t difficult to identify.

But Steven Gerrard has been left bemused by claims St Mirren were the first team to specifically set out to subdue his captain when they recorded their shock 3-2 win over Rangers in the Betfred Cup quarter-finals last month.

“I think it's pretty normal that teams and managers will try to look at Rangers' strengths and try to nullify them,” said Gerrard.

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“But I think it would be very disrespectful to the other coaches I'm competing against if I said this is just a recent thing.

“Everyone seems to think that St Mirren were the first team to try to stop James Tavernier in my two and a half year tenure, which is so far from the truth.

“Because we've got to respect all the managers and coaches in the league, who will always try to nullify Rangers' threats.

“We have to be able to adapt in games and before games, we have to have different tools to react to different situations.

“St Mirren tried to stop us again when we played them in the league last month and we won the game 2-0. So it's about us being ready for whatever teams try to do to stop us.

“But the good thing is we're not just reliant on one player. We've got strengths all over the park. That's a good place to be in.”

Rangers’ response to that Betfred Cup exit has been a run of five straight Premiership wins, establishing a 19-point lead at the top of the table as they prepare to face Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Sunday.

“I have got total belief and confidence in my players, I always have had,” added the Rangers manager.

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“We’re not a group of people who look back, we always try and look forward. But I know as well as anyone that form is only temporary. You have got to keep pushing, keep trying to max out and face every challenge that comes our way. It is very important that we stay in the now which is a tough challenge against Aberdeen. We reset and we get ready to try and win three points.”

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