Rangers expected to win trophies, says captain James Tavernier

James Tavernier
James Tavernier previously won the Championship with Rangers and now wants to challenge for the top flight

Captain James Tavernier says Rangers are expected to win trophies in Steven Gerrard's first season as manager - and believes a title challenge is a must.

The Ibrox side have finished third two seasons running after promotion.

"We're playing for Rangers and the expectation is to bring trophies back to the club," Tavernier, 26, said.

"The fans expect it, we expect it, we have winning mentalities. Our aim is to be in competition in all the trophies we are in."

While the gap between Rangers and champions Celtic dropped from 39 points to 12 last season, the Ibrox side only made a three-point improvement on their own total.

Two managers - Pedro Caixinha and Graeme Murty - were sacked during the season and Gerrard has dramatically changed his squad since arriving from Liverpool this summer.

Asked what would constitute success this season, Tavernier said: "It would be challenging for the title.

"We are Rangers, so we always have to be challenging for the title. You can't expect anything less."

Tavernier, who has taken over as captain from Lee Wallace under Gerrard, was particularly keen to progress in the Europa League given his side's early exit against Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg last year.

Rangers, who have already beaten Macedonian side Shkupi 2-0 on aggregate this season, hold a 1-0 lead over Osijek of Croatia as they host the second leg of their second qualifying round tie on Thursday.

Tavernier believes the clean sheets during those ties and pre-season friendly wins against Bury and Wigan Athletic is proof that Gerrard has recruited well in defence.

Goalkeeper Allan McGregor has returned from Hull City, while Connor Goldson joined from Brighton & Hove Albion, Nikola Katic from Slaven Belupo and Jon Flanagan from Liverpool.

"We have a new look to the back four and we have worked really hard on it in pre-season - and it has obviously paid off," right-back Tavernier added.

"We have five clean sheets in the games we have played and we are getting stronger and stronger as the games are going on.

"We know we are always going to create chances, but we wanted to keep more goals out of our net and I feel the players we have this season have got a good chance of that.

"We have strengthened in midfield and we have players coming back from injury, so I feel the squad as a whole is a lot stronger than before."

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