EIGHT games, four weeks, three competitions. It is potentially defining and historic at Ibrox.

For James Tavernier, it is the most significant spell of his Rangers career, a run that could finally give him the success he has spent years striving for in Light Blue.

It will start with the visit of Hearts tomorrow afternoon and end at Parkhead with the second Old Firm fixture of the Premiership title race on December 29.

Every match in between is hugely significant for Steven Gerrard’s side. The games with Aberdeen, Motherwell, Hibernian and Kilmarnock only have three points as their prize.

But the Betfred Cup will be on the line against Celtic at Hampden, while a place in the Europa League knockout rounds is up for grabs when Young Boys head to Glasgow for the final 90 nail-biting minutes of Group G action.


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The focus for Gerrard, his staff and his players will not, and can not, be beyond the next challenge and no thought will be given to the trip to Pittodrie until Austin MacPhee’s side have, they hope, been taken care of at Ibrox.

It is only natural that supporters will look at the bigger picture, though, and many are daring to dream of what could be possible over a crucial month that could deliver long-awaited success and lay the foundations for a title bid.

Tavernier has seen and been through more than most at Ibrox and the skipper will relish each challenge as it arrives.

“You obviously have to take it step by step and we have Hearts this weekend that the boys are fully focused on,” he said. “As the gaffer said, we have to park the bus on the Feyenoord game.

“It was a great experience and it is in our hands to get to the last 32 but the league is just as important. We have to get three points, we can’t drop any points and we have to be fully focused on that. I can’t wait for this month to lead the boys and I am sure the lads can’t wait for it as well.

“The cup competition, everyone signed up here to win cups and we are in a final so when that game comes we will prepare right and obviously do our very best to bring a trophy back to Ibrox.

“In the league, we have got to continue to be consistent in everything we do, as the gaffer says he wants to see consistency. We can’t waste more minutes on the pitch, as we did in the first half on Thursday night.

“The Young Boys game, when it does come, it is at Ibrox and I know Ibrox will be rocking for that game. It is in our hands so we have got to believe in ourselves, really focus and work hard.


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“I think if you look on paper and what is ahead, it can be [the biggest month of my Rangers career]. There are a lot of games so it can be one of the biggest months that I have been here. We have got to take it step by step and Hearts is our full focus.”

When Tavernier moved to Ibrox from Wigan four years ago, he could never have imagined what would unfold during his time with Rangers.

He has seen Mark Warburton, Pedro Caixinha and Graeme Murty occupy the role of manager, while Gerrard promoted him to captain upon his arrival last summer.

The last 18 months under the Liverpool legend have been the best of the lot for Tavernier and Rangers.

Now the Light Blues have a chance to take that crucial final step and deliver the success that supporters, and the club, covet so much.

“It’s transformed massively,” Tavernier said. “It was a great squad that I came into when I first arrived at the club under Mark Warburton.

“But the players have got better and the team is a lot better too. You can look back on the Scottish Cup final when we played Hibs.

“If you look at the team we had on the pitch and the players we had on the bench and compare that to now then we’ve got Jermain Defoe on the bench. The levels of quality in the squad here now is massive.

“The transformation has taken us far. We are a lot more competitive in Europe and domestically as well. The training ground and the stadium is improving too. This club has really gone in the right direction over the past five years.

“We are obviously lucky to have him (Gerrard). He has been fantastic for us since he has walked through the door, for myself, for the team and the club. Hopefully we can keep on improving and going in the right direction.”

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The improvements domestically are clear for Rangers but it is their exploits in Europe that are the best measure of their strides forward.

The draw with Feyenoord was another notable achievement and Rangers are top of Group G heading into their final fixture in a fortnight.

Tavernier said: “He (Gerrard) has cut it at the highest level and he has won the Champions League so he knows what is required.

“The European nights take care of themselves, they are big occasions and like on Thursday night you go into a fantastic stadium with a great pitch and 50,000 fans. They are the games you want to play in and it was some atmosphere with our fans making plenty of noise.

“They are the games that should take care of themselves but you do have the great addition of the manager to give you the guidelines of what needs to be done.

“We have 50,000 of our own fans that demand the best of us all the time and if you are not delivering then you will hear the 50,000 get on our backs.

“That is only right because they want to see us perform well and win every game. We know the expectation and what is required and it is those games you really relish.”