By Doug Ward

22nd Nov, 2021 | 7:25am

Stephen Craigan slams James Tavernier after Hibs goal v Rangers in League Cup semi

Stephen Craigan slammed James Tavernier after Martin Boyle scored Hibernian’s second goal against Rangers at Hampden Park on Sunday.

Boyle grabbed the second goal of his hat-trick in the 3-1 League Cup semi-final win after a defensive lapse between Tavernier and Connor Goldson.

Tavernier appeared to play the Hibs forward onside and failed to stop him from getting a goalbound shot off, leading to criticism from BT Sport pundit Craigan.

“I’ve touched on it a few times in the game already. Martin Boyle and Kevin Nisbet are playing on the shoulder of the back-four of Rangers – they simply can’t cope. He’s too sharp, he’s too quick,” said Craigan on Premier Sports 1 during the first half on Sunday.

Craigan added: “Tavernier and Goldson, he just breaks in between them.

“Tavernier is throwing his arms about, he has to match the run.

“He’s got to be aware that Martin Boyle is one to make that little darting, diagonal sprint in behind the back-four.

“What a finish, what a start for Martin Boyle and what a start for Hibs.”

Woeful Tav

Tavernier won’t ever learn to defend so the insistence upon playing him at right-back is only going to hurt us every now and then.

Of course, the English right-back offers a lot going forward but on days like Sunday, he’s a liability who costs the team goals.

Both of Hibs’ first two goals could have been prevented by Tavernier if he was more switched on defensively.

Sometimes he makes up for his defensive shortcoming when going forward because of his superb ability at set-pieces and crossing the ball.

However, he didn’t offer that at Hampden Park against Hibs, which meant that he really should have been substituted off.

Nathan Patterson is chomping at the bit to get more game-time and showed with Scotland that he has the ability to step up when it matters most to produce match-winning performances.

Maybe we should chance formation to get both Patterson and Tavernier in the side or play Tav more advanced on the wing.

It’s causing us to concede goal after goal.

In other Rangers news, Sir Kenny Dalglish expects van Bronckhorst to make this fringe player one of his key men.