Legendary Rangers boss Walter Smith has heaped praise on James Tavernier while singling out his penalty taking and goalscoring ability.

Tavernier has scored eight penalties this season and is the top scorer in the Scottish Premiership with nine goals.

Smith believes that the Gers captain has shown ‘strength of character’ to return to penalty duties after he missed three spot-kicks in the early stages of last season.

The Scottish Sun quote Smith as saying, “He’s delivering an incredible number of goals. He’s top scorer in the division. I know Tavernier takes penalties. But there are loads of boys who have been top scorers as forwards over the years and taken penalties as well.

“I can’t think of any player who has never missed if he’s taking them on a regular basis. He’s gone through that, and sometimes it needs a strong mentality to go up there and take another one. And maybe even miss another one.

“So he’s shown good strength of character. Tav’s also shown good leadership being the captain of the team to do what he’s doing. You’ve got to say to yourself: ‘Is there anyone better at doing it’? I don’t think so.”

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Tavernier was taken off penalties last year after his three early-season misses but his replacements failed to improve Rangers’ luck from 12 yards.

Alfredo Morelos infamously missed one in the Betfred Cup final which essentially handed Celtic the trophy.

Clearly, Tavernier has worked on his penalties and it has paid off but any criticism he receives for ‘just scoring penalties’ is completely unjustified.

Let’s remember that Tavernier is a right-back and he has no business scoring the amount of goals that he has done this season.

His attacking outlet, in general, has been phenomenal this season with the Gers captain registering 15 goals and 10 assists in 24 competitive games.

Couple this with Rangers’ unbeaten record and record-breaking defensive start to the season and it is clear to see that Tavernier does a lot more than ‘just score penalties’.

In other Rangers news, the Gers will battle Celtic for the signature of a Manchester United attacker, according to a report. 

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