HAVING just helped Rangers to lift the League Cup for the first time in 12 years and finally completed his set of major Scottish footballing honours, James Tavernier’s immediate focus was on celebrating with his team mates when he spoke to reporters in the bowels of Hampden last night.

Yet, the Ibrox captain, whose second half strike ultimately secured a narrow 1-0 win over Aberdeen in the final of the Viaplay-sponsored competition yesterday afternoon, did allow his thoughts to wander beyond the imminent festivities when pushed.

The right back predicted the joyously-celebrated victory would have positive ramifications for the Glasgow club, who are five points behind leaders Celtic in the cinch Premiership with two games in hand and through to the Europa League knockout rounds, going forward.

Tavernier noted the number of players who Rangers were missing against Aberdeen – Jose Cifuentes, Danilo, Ryan Jack, Tom Lawrence and Nicolas Raskin all sat out the match due to injury or suspension – and predicted they would only improve further in the coming weeks and months when they get bodies back.

READ MORERangers 1 Aberdeen 0: Instant reaction to the burning issues

“The sky is the limit for us,” he said. “There are a lot of quality footballers out, but I really believe in this squad and the talent we have in the team. We’re all pushing each other every single day and standards are going higher and higher. We’re only going to get better going forward.

“It is the first chance we have had to get silverware this season and we have got our hands on it. We have got to really enjoy it, but build on it and not forget what is in front of us. We have got to really push ourselves, perform even better and get what we want.

The Herald: “That’s what football is. If you are four-years-old, 10-years-old or if you are a fully grown man or woman, you dream about things in football. The fans will be dreaming that we can win everything really.

“Us as a team? We have got to put ourselves in a good position to manage to do that. We have done that today with the first trophy so we have got to continue to build on this. We continue to work hard and the gaffer is really pushing us. The sky is the limit with the team.”

Clement extended his unbeaten run as Rangers manager to 14 games yesterday and Tavernier praised the impact the Belgian coach has made since replacing Michael Beale at Ibrox following a 3-1 Premiership defeat at home to Aberdeen back in October.

“He’s come in and raised the bar, raised the standard,” he said. “He’s given us a lot of clarity as a team about what he wants us to do, and everyone has really got on board with it.

“He says it’s not just about the team that’s starting, it’s about the 22 or 24 all really pushing themselves on the training field. That’s really positive to see behind closed doors, that we’re all really pushing each other to get the success for us all to enjoy together.

“He is always calm and collected in his demands of us. Before kick-off, he said it was a game we obviously want to win. He told us that if we went a goal down we had to play the game that was instilled in us. We just move forward. I am just really, really enjoying playing underneath him.”

READ MOREClement issues coy Rangers transfer response on player incomings

Tavernier, who finally added a League Cup winner’s medal to the Premiership and Scottish Cup ones he has in his collection, singled out Dujon Sterling, who performed well out of position in central midfield and received the Man of the Match award following the final whistle, for special mention.

The Herald: “Dujon has been absolutely unbelievable since he’s been playing in that midfield role,” he said. “He’s come in and been asked to do a job, and he got Man of the Match in the final and deservedly so.

“A lot of players played really well but Dujon was really good. Cyriel (striker Dessers) is really coming into his strengths, he was a big matchwinner for us on Thursday night (in the 3-2 win over Real Betis in Spain).”

Scoring the goal which clinched victory over Aberdeen capped a sweet personal triumph for the Rangers defender, who has spent eight-and-a-half years in Govan, and he confessed that it was a special afternoon for him.

“I spoke to Soutts (John Souttar) at half-time having noticed that Ross (McCausland) had got in at the back post a couple of times,” he said. “I thought I could look to maybe get in there myself.

“With Dujon having such a good game, I could get forward more as the second half went on as I knew he could give me a little bit of cover.

“I saw Borna (Barisic) get to the byline and I thought I would get myself into the box. When it went up in the air, I just thought, ‘Get it on target’. The joy of scoring a goal is obviously unbelievable and we managed to see it out.

“It’s obviously a proud moment for myself and my family, but it’s down to the team. I thought everyone really played well. We could have played better, but everyone really stood up to the task in hand and we saw it over the line.”

READ MORERangers player ratings as Clement's side win the Viaplay League Cup

He added: “Rangers gave me the platform from day one nine years ago. They gave me the opportunity to play the game I love and I’ll always repay them, no matter what.

“I go out week in week out to do my best. It’s really enjoyable now to see the team really galvanised together. That’s what the manager is bringing to the table, pushing each other on. It’s set out for something really special for us.”