JAMES Tavernier hasn’t always been everyone’s cup of tea as a Rangers player but right now you might say he is putting a lot of crosses in all the right boxes.

When Mark Warburton was making the case to take his former player with him to Nottingham Forest not everyone was dead against taking the money and investing it elsewhere but it may prove one of the best bits of business Pedro Caixinha ever did – signing Alfredo Morelos be another one - to persuade this attack-minded full back that he was better off staying at Rangers.

After a man of the match display in the Old Firm match against Celtic in late December – at one point he was spotted slaloming between Scott Sinclair and Kieran Tierney and then placing a cross on Morelos’ forehead – Tavernier was at it again against Aberdeen on Wednesday night.

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As dominant as Rangers were for most of the night – the Dons threatened most when, two goals down, the match already seemed beyond them, it took Tavernier to provide the two genuine pieces of creative inspiration for both goals. First, his clever run and wicked right-foot cross was perfect for Morelos’ lurking back-post header, the he bisected the remants of the Aberdeen defence with a slide rule pass that saw Josh Windass brought crashing to earth by the luckless Joe Lewis. Just for good measure, he confidently claimed the ball for the spot kick and sent stand-in goalkeeper Danny Rogers the wrong way from the resultant penalty. Much as Graeme Murty insisted on a round of applause for goalkeeper Wes Foderingham in the Ibrox changing room afterwards, Tavernier too deserved an honourable mention.

While there have been false dawns in the past, it is further good news for a Rangers side who seem to finally be getting somewhere under Graeme Murty that the 26-year-old former Newcastle and Wigan player should be so insistent that he has no plans to go anywhere in this window. Championship outfits of the scale of Sunderland and Reading have been linked with an interest, but with 18 months of his contract still to run, Rangers may be wiser to consider extending his contract. They will certainly be hard pushed to find a replacement in what remains of the transfer window. “I don’t like to get into speculation but I’m fully committed to Rangers,” said Tavernier. “I’m still learning here and I’m still growing here. I’ve still got 18 months to go. It’s totally down to the club if they want to extend my contract. I’ll have to wait and see.”

Tavernier is comfortably through the 100-appearance mark since alighting in Scotland from Gary Caldwell’s Wigan in the summer of 2015 but is little wonder if he still feels he has unfinished business up here. Aside from the small matter of a Championship title and a Petrofac Cup win which he embellished with a fine goal, it would be nice to get something tangible to put in the trophy cabinet. Not to mention a little bit of one-upmanship in the Old Firm rivalry against Celtic. So far, besides a couple of draws, his only genuine success in the Glasgow grudge match came on penalties in the 2016 Scottish Cup semi-final. “I came here to win trophies,” said Tavernier. “Also, in all the Old Firm games I’ve played, I’ve only been on the winning side once so far. I want to win some more of them. So I still have unfinished business as a Rangers player.”

Wednesday night’s showing at Ibrox suggested that Rangers mean business in the latter part of this season. They leapfrogged Aberdeen to second, and with four new boys all playing a part, and Hamilton’s Greg Docherty – regardless of a day of no movement – likely to make it five, they now boast the kind of options which Graeme Murty could only dream of a couple of short weeks ago. When his lengthy injury list are fit and available to play a part, the Ibrox club should have no excuses for being able to find the answers to most things Premiership opposition has to throw at them. If not all of the new boys pulled up any trees, there was enough to suggest more down the line once they get to know their team-mates. And particularly impressive on Wednesday night was Sean Goss, a holding midfielder with excellent physique and range of passing on his left foot.

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“The new lads gelled in well and we showed a good ability when we were attacking, although we know we can finish off more of the chances we create,” said Tavernier, ahead of Sunday’s visit to Ross County. “They all offer something new to the team and have all settled in really well. Three started against Aberdeen and Jason came on. They are going to have a big impact on the team in the second half of the season. We all have to step up our game.

“We have a big squad now and there are also a lot of guys to come back from injuries. It’s going to step up the standards with people trying to keep their places in the team. It will drive us to be better. Second place is the minimum we should be aiming for. We sent out a statement on Wednesday night but we can’t let that standard drop. We have to go to Ross County on Sunday with the same quality and desire to win the game. We are going in the right direction. We have shown it in the big games but now we have to show it in every single game.”