By Peter Lynch

30th Apr, 2023 | 4:01pm

Michael Stewart blasts James Tavernier as footage of Rangers star emerges v Celtic

Michael Stewart has blasted Rangers captain James Tavernier for his role in Celtic’s first-half goal in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Sunday (30 April).

The right-back was caught sleeping at the back post as Jota darted in past him and headed home from a Daizen Maeda cross.

The two teams went into the half-time break separated only by Jota’s goal in the 42nd minute of the match at Hampden Park.

Speaking on Viaplay 1 on Sunday (30 April, 2:28pm), Stewart said: “Celtic exploited the lapse of concentration by Barisic and Tavernier in particular.

“They take a quick free-kick and you see Kent slowly getting back in. Maeda is behind Barisic but he gets there first and launches it to the back post. Jota’s on the move, Tavernier’s ball-watching and sleeping. That’s the difference.

“You can see there, Tavernier with Jota and Jota’s off and going, it’s an easy header in the end because Rangers’ captain is just ball-watching.”

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Major improvement needed

Rangers have been losing out to Celtic too many times this season, and that is an issue that Michael Beale will have to resolve if he is to not only achieve success at the club, but also keep his position in the dugout.

There are, of course, other fixtures and other clubs that Beale should worry about, particularly in European competition, but domestically it will almost always be about Rangers and Celtic.

One way in which this can be improved is through the right recruitment, with a handful of current Gers players simply not up to the task of competing with a talented Celtic side.

Tavernier is definitely not amongst the current players at risk of an Ibrox exit this summer, with the defender set to be a key player under Beale next season once again.

But the right-back’s defensive abilities have come under the microscope yet again, in what is an area that Tavernier needs to improve on as soon as possible.

In other Rangers news, one Gers legend believes the club should not pay £5million to Bayern Munich for Malik Tillman and instead bring in someone like Celtic’s Kyogo Furuhashi.