Rangers players have played no less than 34 games in all competitions since soccer resumed in this country in August, including last season’s excellent Europa League round of 16 tie, and will benefit from a little time off this month.
But James Tavernier and his teammates must move on with the winter break cancelled this year as a result of the Covid 19 outbreak.
Celtic, who on Saturday suffered a 1-0 Premier League loss at Ibrox, have rescheduled their game at Parkhead against Hibernian for next Monday so that they can jet off for a few days to Dubai.
Instead of a well-deserved week off with a training break in warm weather, another league game against Aberdeen at Pittodrie awaits the league leaders on Sunday.
Tavernier, however, has no worries that in the second half of the 2020/21 season, Steven Gerrard’s side will be able to sustain their high level of success and prevent another slump.
The right-back and captain, who has played in every competitive game this season along with Conor Goldson, claims Glasgow has the best sports science team in Scottish soccer.
The 29-year-old is optimistic that in the next few weeks they will be able to help Rangers cope with the hectic schedule of Premier League, Scottish Cup and Europa League matches and he is looking forward to staying involved.
“The sports science department is one of the best I’ve seen since I’ve been in soccer,” Tavernier said. We have a department that works very well together and drives guys through the week when they need to.
They are still there if you need a break or a workout. They are still there as far as healing. On the training ground, you can also see the equipment. For recovery, we have a cryogenic chamber. That ministry is second to none.
“Nothing has changed since the beginning of the season. Our training level and the intensity of how we play are the same. That will continue to show if you continue to do the right things. That’s what we’ve done and that’s what we need to continue to do. For the second part of the season, that’s our main priority.
I’m in a good position as far as attitude goes, the team is in a good place, and we just need to keep the momentum going. We had a fantastic first half of the season, and we just gotta keep it rolling.
The winter break has clearly been postponed, so that means we can continue to play. You just want to play soccer when you look at what’s going on down south, all the games. We’re happy and we just have to deal with what’s in front of us.
You want to play big games, but this season’s mindset is that each game is a big game. The game in the middle of last week against St. Mirren was a big game. No matter who is on the other side of the pitch, we treat every single game like a cup final.
“We’re going about it the right way, we’re training all week. When you see all these games in front of you, you rub your hands together and you can’t wait to play. The guys are fired up to get going and try to win the game.”
Tavernier claims that Rangers, 19 points clear at the top of the Premier League table and 32 points clear at the top of the Europa League table, have performed well in the first half of the season, thanks both to the comprehensive summer training and the influence of the new signings.
He said, “We had a really good preseason, which we didn’t have before,” We have been working very hard on ourselves, our tactics and individual teams. This season has come together really well.
“The newcomers blend in pretty well. There’s so much competition now for slots, which drives the guys every day when they’re called up to the starting eleven to hold the jersey.
“If you look at the last couple of seasons, it’s been good [this time of year], but we’re obviously in a better position in the standings this time around. We’re not really looking at that – we’re just going to keep building on where we are now and try to take the maximum points out of every game we go into.”
In recent seasons, Tavernier has been associated with transfers to Premier League clubs Bournemouth, Newcastle United and West Ham, however in the January transfer window, he will not be swayed by rumors about his future.
“When you are happy and comfortable, you don’t tend to sit on the phone every day and watch the transfer market,” he said.
I can’t talk in favor of anybody sp