THE message from James Tavernier wasn’t delivered with any bombast or hubris. It was said with an assured confidence, with the kind of belief that winning instils in a player and a team.

A 55th league title marks the end of an era for Rangers and a moment in time at which a line in the sand can be drawn. The memories of the dark days will never truly be forgotten, but Rangers are moving forward into a brighter future and Tavernier will continue to play his part.

What was christened as ‘The Journey’ has been completed by Rangers. From the depths of despair in the Third Division, they have scaled the heights in the Premiership once again.

HeraldScotland: James Tavernier

Tavernier would sign up for the ride three seasons in and there have been many times where he has been at a crossroads during his Rangers career.

Now, and at long last, he and Rangers are firmly on the right track under Steven Gerrard’s guidance.

It is a process that Tavernier has tied himself into once again after agreeing a new contract to keep him at Ibrox. The news was warmly welcomed by his manager and supporters and the pride was clear to see for the man himself.

His predecessor, Lee Wallace, spoke of being captain when Rangers were winning ‘real’ silverware. That was no disrespect to the titles earned on the road to recovery, but the former Ibrox skipper knew there was a world of difference between collecting the Championship and the Petrofac Training Cup and being part of the side that wins Premierships and proper domestic silverware.

Wallace would never get to experience those highs with Rangers but the man that he passed on the armband to has now lived his own dream. It is one thing to win a title, but the challenge going forward is to be a repeat champion and to hammer home the advantage now that Rangers find themselves in a position of strength.

“It has been a long time, it has been six years, but it has made me who I am today and given me great experience from the journey,” Tavernier said during an interview with RangersTV as his contract extension was announced on Tuesday afternoon.

“I have seen the players that have come and gone, the managers that have come and gone and learned a lot of things from that, of course.

“The one thing is that the fans have always stuck by us and credit to them. You will never see any supporters like that around the world.

“It is absolutely amazing what they give to the team and myself and this is the start of something special for this club where we are at now. It is not the end, it is the start of something and I can’t wait.”

There may have been moments where Tavernier feared these days would never come. There is nobody within the Rangers squad who has been through as much in recent years and perhaps nobody to whom the achievement of winning the Premiership will mean more.

As he signed on the dotted line this week, Tavernier committed himself to Rangers until the summer of 2024.

HeraldScotland: Rangers' James Tavernier celebrates against Falkirk

Should he see out the two-year extension to his contract, it will give him nine years of service and a further season and a testimonial would surely be on the cards.

The coming campaigns give Tavernier a chance to become a decorated Rangers captain. He will never be held in the same esteem as John Greig, Richard Gough or Barry Ferguson, but his legacy is a unique one having been the skipper of the side that has won the most significant title in Rangers’ illustrious history.

There have certainly been better teams and better players to achieve such a feat, but this success means more because of the trials that have been overcome. For the last six years, Tavernier has lived through them all.

Once branded as a ‘serial loser’, Tavernier now has the opportunity to become a serial winner as the leader of a Rangers side that are on the rise and rise. As he said himself, this has to be the beginning rather than the end.

The injury that he suffered against Royal Antwerp in February was a cruel twist of fate and would ultimately rule him out of the match where the title was all-but won the following month.

As Gerrard’s side beat St Mirren at Ibrox, Tavernier had to watch on from the stands. But he would deservedly take his place amidst the scenes of celebrations in the dressing room post-match and at Auchenhowie 24 hours later as Rangers’ crowning as champions was confirmed, courtesy of Celtic’s draw with Dundee United.

On May 15, Tavernier will raise the Premiership title aloft and have a Premiership medal placed round his neck. It will be the most significant moment of his career, but it is the Scottish Cup final that is the date that must be circled on the Ibrox calendar and that competition gives Rangers a chance to prove that they can fuel their hunger for success.

It was at Hampden five years ago where Tavernier suffered one of his worst days as a Rangers player as Mark Warburton’s side were beaten by Hibernian. In an era of false dawns, that so near yet so far afternoon summed up where Rangers were.

Under Gerrard, they are a very different proposition and the improvement in Tavernier as a player and a captain is symptomatic of the progress that Rangers have made in the last three years.

The Premiership title has to be the start of something special for Rangers. Tavernier knows that as well as anyone at Ibrox.