January 31, 2023

JAMES TAVERNIER will HATE himself right now after his costly mistake put Rangers at a disadvantage against Celtic, says Neil McCann.

The Gers skipper at the start of today’s Old Firm derby completely mishandled the pass, allowing Daizen Maeda to open the scoring in the first five minutes in favor of the visitors.



James Tavernier lost to Daizen Maeda ahead of Celtic’s first match.Credit: Kenny Ramsay

After Alfredo Morelos made a blind pass in his half of the field into the draw zone, Tavernier had a chance to come back, but he failed his pass attempt to Connor Goldson, and Maeda swooped in to punish.

The game ended in a 2-2 draw with Tavernier later scoring a penalty but the result means the Blues are still nine points behind their rivals in the Premier League title race, a gap too wide for Rangers to win back for hero Ibrox. Chris Boyd.

Former Gers and Scotland winger McCann analyzed the first goal on BBC sports scene and thinks that Tavernier realizes the seriousness of his mistake.

Discussing the goal, McCann said: “He (Maeda) just completely eliminated Connor Goldson there.

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“First pass [from Morelos] terrible, going straight is a mortal sin, but James Tavernier could fix that.

“He’s actually trying to soften things up with Connor Goldson when he has an easier pass to Allan McGregor and he’s going to hate himself for it right now.

“The original mistake was because Morelos made this cheap mistake. He started the game badly. I thought he started very badly.”


“Then, as Mick Beal says, he had two opportunities in the first half that he could have handled better.”

However, McCann didn’t just focus on the error, but also praised Maeda, arguably Celtic’s best player in the first half at Ibrox.

He continued, “Maeda is just a buzzing bomb, he is full of energy.


“He needed a lot of composure to beat (Allan) McGregor.”

As for moving forward for the remainder of the season, McCann said the title race is pretty much over.

But he says Rangers boss Michael Beal will have reason to be optimistic and can reasonably conclude that his team has put the glove on Celtic today.

McCann said, “I think when you strip it all back… The Rangers were only half a yard away from him at times.

“It’s about trying to achieve cohesion so that the gaps are smaller.

“Once the Rangers discover this, I think they will become more of a team unit and that will allow talented players to infiltrate into more advantageous areas.

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“But overall, I think they stopped the juggernaut today. This is always difficult to do against Celtic.

“I think Mick Beal will sit back and think, ‘I put the glove on Celtic here, we put the marker.’

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