Connor Goldson heaped praise on James Tavernier after the Rangers captain scored his 115th goal for the club to secure the Viaplay Cup.
The Gers right-back hooked in an impressively-executed strike from a Borna Barisic cross to settle Sunday’s Hampden showdown with Aberdeen in the 76th minute.
Tavernier has made a habit of popping up with huge goals since moving to Rangers from Wigan eight-and-a-half years ago, and fellow defender Goldson feels his colleague has become a colossal influence at Ibrox.“This football club won’t appreciate James Tavernier until James Tavernier’s not here,” said Goldson. “For a right-back to do the numbers he does… it’s not one season, it’s year after year after year.
“He started this season slow, I don’t think he scored many at the start but he’s on a hot streak now and long may it continue.
“The main thing about playing for this football club is adding numbers to the board. That board was there long before we were here and will be there a long time after, so to say you’ve had a part in adding numbers on to that is obviously huge.”
Sunday’s victory means long-serving Tavernier has now won each of the three major trophies in his time in Scotland after leading Gers to the Premiership title in 2021 and the Scottish Cup in 2022.
The goal-scorer savoured a perfect ending to a week in which the Ibrox side also sealed top spot in their Europa League group with a 3-2 victory away to Real Betis.
“It’s obviously long overdue but I’m really proud of the team,” Tavernier said of the Viaplay Cup success. “It was probably closer than it was expected to be but we knew if we limited their chances, we would create our own.
“I’m really happy to see this week out by topping the (Europa League) group and getting our hands on the first silverware this season.
“I’m delighted that all of us have managed to get our hands on the first silverware this season. That should give us real good momentum to build on.”
City rivals Celtic have lost their last two matches, allowing Rangers – who previously seemed out of contention – to haul themselves back into the title race.
The Gers are now within five points of the Hoops with two games in hand, the first of which comes at home to St Johnstone on Wednesday.
Tavernier refused to entertain talk of Celtic’s recent dip, preferring to keep the focus on his own team.
“There’s plenty points to play for,” he said. “We’ve just got to concentrate on ourselves and focus on knocking out the wins. It gets decided in May.
“We’ll try our hardest and see where it takes us. We’ve always got determination, no matter what. We play for a club that’s rich in history with trophies and we want to bring success to the club and our fans.”