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Five key players that sealed 55 for Rangers

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247 News Around The World
247 News Around The World

As Rangers celebrate their first title in 10 years, Sportsmail takes a look at the five key figures in the dressing room that set the standard in Steven Gerrard’s squad. 

ALLAN McGREGOR

Two months beyond his 39th birthday, McGregor has shown no sign of age diminishing his powers. This has been one of the goalkeeper’s finest seasons in a long and successful career.

It was exemplified by his performance in the vital January 2 victory over Celtic at Ibrox that helped dispel any possibility of a title comeback from the fallen champions.

Neil Lennon’s men performed well in the first half but couldn’t pass McGregor. His denial of a powerful, curling Leigh Griffiths strike was genuinely world-class.

Allan McGregor's experience has proven a key asset to Steven Gerrard's side this season

Allan McGregor's experience has proven a key asset to Steven Gerrard's side this season

Allan McGregor’s experience has proven a key asset to Steven Gerrard’s side this season

McGregor can be relied upon in the biggest games but his campaign was full of such of displays. He made half-a-dozen fine stops in February’s 1-1 draw against Hamilton that Steven Gerrard otherwise branded his side’s ‘worst display of the season.’

McGregor gave his own take in typically blunt fashion. ‘We were rubbish,’ he fumed in an exasperated post-match interview.

The former Scotland man’s determined adherence to the highest standards has been hugely valuable to Gerrard throughout the course of the season. He had seen and done it before. Now he’s done it again.

JAMES TAVERNIER

For long enough this term, the Ibrox captain looked on a one-man mission to rewrite statistical records and redefine what was expected from a full-back.

Between late August and mid-December, he scored 11 goals in 12 Premiership matches. Penalties were ruthlessly tucked away alongside smart finishes from open play. And he continued to set them up, too.

Tavernier was a driving force in ensuring Rangers’ title challenge got up and running in formidable fashion.

James Tavernier was a driving force in ensuring Rangers’ title challenge got up and running

James Tavernier was a driving force in ensuring Rangers’ title challenge got up and running

James Tavernier was a driving force in ensuring Rangers’ title challenge got up and running

While criticised in the past for his defending, he was also integral to a back four that set a new record for clean sheets at the start of a season and continued to exert a miserly grip on opponents.

The fact Tavernier had to sit out the final few assignments though a rare injury cannot in any way diminish his contribution to the campaign.

The 29-year-old has seen plenty of tough days since move to Ibrox in 2015. His reward for perseverance is an indelible place in the club’s history as the skipper of the team that ended a decade-long wait for success.

CONNOR GOLDSON

The rock of the Rangers rearguard. Goldson has played every minute of every Premiership game this season and his durability has been matched by his performance levels.

Gerrard speaks of being given a dirty look if he even suggests giving the centre-back a rest. Goldson demands responsibility and is one of the undisputed leaders of the squad. The 28-year-old’s vocal organisation has been clearly heard throughout a campaign played out in front of empty stands.

Undergoing heart surgery in 2017 surely deepened a desire to drain the most he could from his career. Moving to Rangers the following year provided an opportunity to pursue success.

Connor Goldson has been the rock of Rangers' rearguard, and has scored some big goals, too

Connor Goldson has been the rock of Rangers' rearguard, and has scored some big goals, too

Connor Goldson has been the rock of Rangers’ rearguard, and has scored some big goals, too

It wasn’t instant, but Goldson elevated his form onto another level this season and dragged those beside him upwards as well.

In addition to being the central figure in protecting keeper McGregor, he also increased his threat in the opposition penalty area.

Two goals at Parkhead to clinch the vital October win over Celtic – a result from which Rangers never looked back – provided a personal high-point.

STEVEN DAVIS

At 36 years of age, Davis has continued to bring composure and class to the Rangers midfield. A fourth title medal with the club is a rich return on his decision to return for a second spell.

Questions were again asked of Davis when Gerrard’s side struggled after the winter break last season. Those willing to edge him towards retirement were likely playing close attention when he returned to action after the enforced four-month break prior to this campaign.

The Northern Ireland captain didn’t take long to answer any doubts about his continued effectiveness. Intelligence shines from his play but it also matched by a work-rate that could be the envy of many a decade younger.

Gerrard’s faith in him is absolute. ‘One of the most low-maintenance players I’ve ever encountered,’ the Ibrox boss has enthused. Like McGregor, he sets standards for others to follow.

Davis might not be able to play every single game but he is often missed when he is not there. Indeed, the absence of his ‘personality’ was one reason Gerrard identified for his side’s under-performance against Hamilton last month.

Steven Davis, at 36, has continued to bring composure and class to the Rangers midfield

Steven Davis, at 36, has continued to bring composure and class to the Rangers midfield

Steven Davis, at 36, has continued to bring composure and class to the Rangers midfield

GLEN KAMARA

Over the two-and-a-half years since his £50,000 move from Dundee, Kamara has grown into a vital asset at Rangers.

His development could almost be seen as emblematic of the whole Gerrard project, in which astute coaching has improved individuals to deliver collective success.

Few players in the Premiership make football look quite so effortless as Kamara when on peak form. He controlled the opening Old Firm game of the season without apparently breaking into a sweat and has been an important cog in a midfield that has balanced defensive security with progressive passing.

More than once this season, Gerrard has voiced his demand for the 25-year-old to be given an improved contract.

With Kamara set to play a key role for Finland in the Euros this summer – and having already shown his talent in the Europa League – getting that deal signed off would be a wise move.

Glen Kamara has grown into a vital asset for Rangers since joining from Dundee for £50,000

Glen Kamara has grown into a vital asset for Rangers since joining from Dundee for £50,000

Glen Kamara has grown into a vital asset for Rangers since joining from Dundee for £50,000

This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

The post Five key players that sealed 55 for Rangers appeared first on 247 News Around The World.

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