James Tavernier on the brink of Rangers greatness while Willie Miller expects Scotland’s three-man club to welcome new member

16 May 2022 | 08:10 | Football

Billy McNeill. John Greig. Willie Miller.

The only three captains of Scottish clubs have lifted the European Cup in the skies above Lisbon, Barcelona and Gothenburg, respectively.

The last name in that trio of legendary frontmen believe they will soon have to shuffle a bit to make room for a fourth member of their exclusive club.

In fact, before Aberdeen Captain Miller believes James Tavernier will turn the trio into a quartet by taking the lead Rangers to Europa League glory in Seville eight days from now.

The former Dons and Scotland defender, who led his side to that unforgettable victory over Real Madrid in the 1983 European Cup Winners’ Cup, is confident Rangers will qualify. to add Eintracht Frankfurt to Borussia’s Bundesliga champions. Dortmund and RB Leipzig became the first Scottish club to win two Euro titles.

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And he believes that at Tavernier they have someone who deserves a place alongside him, McNeill and Greig – as well as Giovanni van Bronckhorst who will deserve his place on the great management team alongside Jock. Stein, Willie Waddell and Sir Alex Ferguson if Rangers come home with the trophy.

Miller believes the Dutchman has done a remarkable job after arriving in the middle of a campaign that could have been derailed by the sudden departure of Steven Gerrard in November but has somehow get a run to the finals with a fraction of their teams’ budgets. had left the tracks when they woke up.

“This is a Rangers team that has done very well (in Europe) over the years, and you have to be in the mix that they have lost a manager in this journey and they have managed to deal with this. there,” he said.

“But it’s about belief and motivation and going out and really believing that you won the game before you played.

Aberdeen captain Willie Miller shows off the Cup Winners 'Cup of 1983
Aberdeen captain Willie Miller shows off the Cup Winners ‘Cup of 1983

“For them to lift the trophy would just be sensational, especially when you look at them without any strikers, so they have to do it differently.

“Van Bronckhorst changed the tactics, the shape of the team. He was looking at the opposition.

“Steven Gerrard didn’t really do that. He believes he will play a certain way, but Van Bronckhorst has proven tactically flexible and he gets a lot of credit for this run.

“Add to that the effective synchronicity and benefit that Scottish football has to offer in European conditions, and the fact that they can play against Celtic in next season’s Champions League, it’s sensational.

“Going back four or five years, can you imagine talking about Scottish teams playing European finals and straight into the Champions League? The heart comes in Europa League or the Conference League until Christmas? ”

While Van Bronckhorst orchestrated this run from the sidelines, his competing lieutenant took the lead by scoring seven goals to become Europa League’s top scorer. Miller thinks Tavernier’s right-back position is not bad.

James Tavernier celebrates his goal
James Tavernier celebrates his goal

Speaking on the Radio Scotland Sportsound podcast, he added: “A big part of being captain is consistency, being there every week and your attitude and consistency. He understood.

“Andy Robertson looks like he’s a great Scottish communicator, but does that really matter? I don’t know if it is.

“For me, the most important part of being a captain is what you do on the pitch. How did you handle yourself out there. The fact that you can tell with your performance that ‘this makes sense to me’ and that’s the type of player I see Tavernier in existence.

“When he comes on, you know you’re going to get absolutely everything from him. If you can have 11 players do the same thing, you’ve got a very good side.

“Add that to the talent he has and the goals he’s brought for Rangers, and he’s the perfect material for the captain’s armband.”

And one, he believes will be the winner in Europe.

Miller added: “Only three Scottish teams have won European titles in decades and now we are in a position where we are talking about who is the favorite in this game, and for me it has to be Rangers.

“The only thing that can work against them is that there is no such atmosphere in Ibrox. It’s a one time only, so they don’t have that to draw strength but what they do have is faith.

“This has been a long journey for them. Back in the day I played, it was a very short way to a European final.

“We won it in 83 and reached the semi-finals in 84. You still had to beat the top teams and back then the German teams were the top teams. The Bundesliga is definitely a big league and if you can get past those clubs it gives you confidence that you can lift the trophy. “

“We beat Bayern Munich and that was the moment when things went well for us, there is no doubt about that. Bayern Munich … how to confront the giants and topple them? But we have that belief and it has been built over the years. “

Sounds a bit like Rangers. In the opinion of the last man to do it, it sounds EXACTLY like Rangers.

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