BBC pundit blown away by incredible Rangers captain James Tavernier late in St Johnstone win
James Tavernier’s intervention to clear a late chance off the line for Rangers and preserve the win at St Johnstone stunned Stephen Craigan.
In the 81st minute of the scrappy 1-0 victory in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup Theo Bair looked like he may just have found an equaliser when he clipped a spinning ball towards goal, but the Light Blues captain showed all of his years of experience to keep it out when his teammates were beaten.
BBC pundit Craigan was highly impressed by the Rangers right-back’s defensive nouse at such a crucial time, just as the home side were starting to provide a late threat.
Reacting live on the match commentary on Viaplay (21 January, 7.13pm) Craigan said: “You’ve got to say it’s incredible defending from James Tavernier.
“When the cross comes in it takes a little deflection, which takes Ben Davies out of play, Connor Goldson’s flat-footed.
“Thankfully for Rangers James Tavernier has the instinct to follow onto the line and manages to hook it away. Big let off.
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It probably shouldn’t have been necessary for Tavernier to preserve such a slim margin of victory, but Remi Matthews was in excellent form on the night to keep out Connor Goldson and Scott Wright efforts.
Alfredo Morelos should probably have found the net with the opportunities he had as well but it was anything but a slick, free-flowing game for the most part.
Ultimately it felt like the kind of cup tie that might throw up the sort of chance that Bair got so it was vital for the Rangers leader to be there.
The Light Blues are finding a way to win ugly under Michael Beale, who has certainly injected a never-say-die attitude even if he hasn’t quite settled on the combinations to provide eye-catching overall performances.
And his players battled to a win that all too often under Giovanni van Bronckhorst would have seen an equaliser conceded.
It wasn’t pretty on Saturday night in Perth but it was enough, and at the end of a week where the Gers had three games in as many competitions they came out on top every time, which is never to be sniffed at.
In other Rangers news, rumours about the possible January exit of a player who featured at McDiarmid Park have been addressed.