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James Tavernier: 'Clean sheets mean more to me than goalscoring'

James Tavernier: 'Clean sheets mean more to me than goalscoring'
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The defender is looking for his 50th goal for the club.

James Tavernier admits he would happily pass up another Rangers milestone to see Steven Gerrard's team maintain their record-breaking shut-out run at Easter Road.

The Light Blues skipper chalked up his 250th appearance for the club against Dundee United last weekend, marking the occasion with a goal in a 4-0 victory.

The right-back then scored for the third game running during Thursday's five-goal Europa League stroll against Lincoln Red Imps to leave him on 49 goals for the club.

He now has the chance to bring up his half-century back where he opened his Rangers account when Gerrard's men travel to Leith on Sunday.

The 28-year-old netted his first goal for Rangers with a sublime free-kick on his debut in July 2015 when Mark Warburton's side claimed a 6-2 Challenge Cup win over Hibernian.

While Tavernier would love to match that feat this weekend, he insists he would prefer to see Rangers extend their British record of eight straight clean sheets from the start of a campaign – with August's Europa League defeat to Bayer Leverkusen technically considered their final game of last season – when they take on Jack Ross' team.

He said: "If I can get on the scoresheet or I can help the team with an assist I'll be delighted.

"All I want is to come away with three points and that is our first and foremost plan going over to Hibs on Sunday.

"I obviously want to keep a clean sheet – I would rather keep a clean sheet than get on the scoresheet – but if it happens and I score I would obviously be delighted."

Rangers have dropped just two points so far this season and Tavernier believes that is down to Gerrard's summer recruitment work, with new signings Kemar Roofe, Cedric Itten, Leon Balogun, Jon McLaughlin and Calvin Bassey complementing the group.

He continued: "I believe this season our squad has got even stronger. The management, the recruitment and obviously the board have done an amazing job to find the players that we need and to bring them in.

"We've obviously been hit with a few injuries and you've seen the players that have come in to replace them.

"So we've got an amazing squad this season and it's only right that it is showing on the pitch how well we are doing because we're pushing each other on every single day on the training pitch.

"If the squad is rotated, like it was on Thursday night, players are coming in and doing a job that the gaffer wants. It's really good and it is really exciting."

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1RangersRangers119202632329
2Celtic108112571825
3Aberdeen10712148622
4Hibernian116321610621
5Kilmarnock104241512314
6Dundee UnitedDundee Utd11335816-812
7Ross County11335716-912
8Livingston113261318-511
9St Johnstone11317916-710
10Motherwell9225713-68
11St Mirren10217615-97
12Hamilton AcademicalHamilton112181325-127

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