By Doug Ward

1st Oct, 2021 | 8:40am

Ally McCoist baffled by James Tavernier in Rangers clash v Sparta Prague

Ally McCoist was baffled by James Tavernier’s defending in Rangers’ 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sparta Prague on Thursday night.

Steven Gerrard’s men have now suffered two defeats in two games in their Europa League group stage campaign with it looking an uphill task to make it to the knock-out stages.

Tavernier’s performance didn’t help with the Gers defence struggling throughout the 90 minutes in Prague on Thursday.

McCoist was particularly baffled by Tavernier’s defending ahead of an early chance for Sparta, which was eventually dealt with by Allan McGregor.

“I don’t know why Tavernier goes to ground here,” said McCoist on BT Sport 3 at half-time on Thursday night.

“I’ve no idea. And the ball comes out again and it’s Pesek with the shot. It’s a good save from McGregor but it’s one I think I would expect him to make.”

Night to forget for Tav

Other than a couple of shining moments towards the end of the game as Rangers searched for a late equaliser, it was a honking night for Tavernier.

Rangers’ captain hasn’t had a good start to the season at all.

We don’t expect him to hit the heights he was at last season because that would be extremely hard for the English right-back.

However, he’s not even anywhere near that and isn’t providing much going forward, as well as at the back.

Gerrard’s defence was all over the place in Prague on Thursday night.

Leon Balogun kept coming out onto the right to help Tavernier, perhaps in an effort to aid the struggling right-back in repeling Sparta’s attacks.

Either way, that opened up a world of hurt for left-back Calvin Bassey, who’d been drafted in to play as the left-sided centre-back alongside Balogun.

It was a mess at the back and Tavernier didn’t do anything at all really to stop that happening.

In other Rangers news, Chris Sutton aimed a sly dig at the Gers ahead of the game.