JAMES TAVERNIER admits the pressure got to Rangers as they let boss Steven Gerrard down and saw their title dreams ended at Kilmarnock.
Late goals from Stephen O’Donnell and Eamonn Brophy condemned the Gers to a costly defeat at Rugby Park on Wednesday night and they are now ten points adrift of Celtic at the top of the table.
Gerrard’s side still have a game in hand over their Old Firm rivals but a wretched run since returning from the winter break has put the Light Blues firmly on the back foot.
The Killie collapse comes on the back of the defeat to Hearts and draw at home to Aberdeen as Rangers have thrown away eight points in the title race.
Gerrard admitted on Wednesday night that he didn’t see the collapse coming as his side looked to build on their Old Firm win before the break.
But Rangers have now caved in for the second successive season as Celtic have moved to within touching distance of clinching nine-in-a-row.
And captain Tavernier reckons the expectation and situation got the better of Rangers when it mattered most.
He said: “We’ve made it harder for ourselves, definitely.
“We had it in our hands and knew what we had to do. It was as clear as day. Go all the way until the end of the season unbeaten and we’d be in a very good position, but now we’ve made it very hard for ourselves with a shocking display in the second half at Kilmarnock.
“It happened last year. It’s really hard to swallow that we are doing this. I know every one of the boys is disappointed as we let the club and the fans down. That’s the worst part of it.
“I know the gaffer takes a lot of the heat, but each one of us has to take the heat.
“He’s taken the brunt for us all season, but this one is simply down to the players.
“Every single one of us needs to look at ourselves.
“Yeah, definitely [we have let the manager down]. He’s improve everything since he’s come in the door. He’s improved the squad and talent-wise we know we are a better team [than Kilmarnock], but it’s how we apply ourselves and how we handle the pressure. Simply enough, we didn’t handle the pressure at Kilmarnock,
“All we can do now is try to be unbeaten until the end of the season and we’ll see where that takes us. We’re still in the Scottish Cup and the league, we’ve made it hard for ourselves. We’ll just have to see how it unfolds.”