THIS is the beginning, not the end. One stage of James Tavernier's Rangers career is over, but another is only just getting started.

The seasons of defeat, disappointment and despair are behind the 29-year-old now. As he looks forward to the next three campaigns at Ibrox, he does so as a champion.

On Saturday, he will hold aloft the Premiership silverware for the first time. Rangers' decade-long wait for the trophy is over and a chapter in their history can be closed.

Matt Polster knows what that status will mean to Tavernier. He had been with him on that journey during Steven Gerrard's first two terms and seen the efforts that had gone in to deliver a title as significant as 55.

By the time Rangers were able to secure the Premiership crown, Polster had left Ibrox to embark on a new challenge and he is now targeting Major League Soccer success with New England Revolution this term.

READ MORE: Seeing Rangers celebrate title 55 'just feels right' for former Ibrox defender

The American still has a place in his heart for Rangers, though. On both a personal and professional level, he couldn't be happier for the man that was his captain and his friend during his time in Glasgow.

"The biggest thing is just to get the monkey off your back and maybe that relief of pressure," Polster told Herald and Times Sport.

"I’m not sure if that’s what he felt like, but to finally get over the line and give the fans something to be happy about, I am sure he is ecstatic.

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"I am happy that he has been able to get that done because he has been with the club for so long.

"Rangers is so special because of the fans and because of what they bring to Ibrox and what it feels like to step onto the pitch in front of them. That is special.

"For Tav, I don’t want to speak for him, but he has been there for a long time and he has wanted to achieve something, like any player wants to achieve.

"He wanted to give something back to the fans that had been there for him. I think this will mean the world to him.

"He will be happy and there will be relief. Knowing him and knowing that group, winning that title is not enough and they will want to go and win it next year as well.

HeraldScotland: Rangers captain James Tavernier

"I know they are happy and he is happy, but I am sure they are going to be pushing for more titles."

There are few within the Ibrox squad to whom title 55 will mean as much and Tavernier has earned his own place in Rangers' history by leading Gerrard's side to the league flag.

His relentless pursuit of success would ultimately make it difficult for Polster to have an impact in Glasgow as he found chances hard to come by following his arrival from Chicago Fire.

But the 27-year-old has nothing but praise and affection for a player and a person that epitomises why the achievements of this season are so important to a club and a support.

Polster said: "I know that I was competing with him to play at right-back and it was tough for me to get into the team, but he was still that guy that I could talk to.

"In the States, we call each other ‘dude’ and he was my dude in Scotland. We had a really good connection and friendship but he had that with everyone in the group, he was able to chat with anybody and he is a calming presence on the field.


"He is a great captain and a great leader and I think he is going to push that team to go even further next year.

"You hit it right on the head and he has that respect and he is well liked. He demands a lot from the group and he demands a lot from himself.

"You can see that he is well liked and well respected and you need that to be a captain at a big club like Rangers. He is definitely the right man for that job, for sure.

"For me personally, it was easy for me to connect with him. He is well liked and respected and he can strike up a conversation with anyone.


"He is very good at making everyone feel welcome within the club and that was the case with me. It was easy for me to have that relationship with him."

As Gerrard fine tuned his squad for a third attempt at the Premiership, Polster would head back Stateside last summer in search of regular first team football.

READ MORE: Matt Polster details Nathan Patterson's key qualities that will take him to the top with Rangers

He had immersed himself in Glasgow and developed an affection for Rangers and the support.

As this historic season has unfolded, he would watch on as a fan and cheer Gerrard's side to a success that means so much to so many.

Polster said: "At the end of the day, it is a group effort and I played a small, small, small role in it. For me, it wouldn’t even come down to that.

"It is what that staff have put in and they have progressed over each season and you could tell, with the players that they brought in, that they were getting better and better each year and the group now is overwhelmingly competitive.

"Even when I was there it was difficult to get in the team.

"It looks like it is even more difficult to get in the team now and it just shows what that staff has done and what that group has done as a whole and I am happy to have been a part of it for even just a short spell.

"I messaged Tav and Scotty (Arfield) and some of the boys I still chat with every now and then. I just said I was happy for them that they were able to get it done.

"I was hoping they would win it before I left but I know it is special for them. When I was there, they talked about winning it and getting back on top so they deserve this moment, for sure."