St Joseph’s vs Rangers: How Steven Gerrard’s men could line up in Europa League first round qualifier

9 Jul

Rangers take on St Joseph’s in their Europa League first-round qualifier on Tuesday evening – live on talkSPORT 2.

St Joseph’s, who finished third in the Gibraltar Premier Division last season to qualify for the preliminary round of the competition, will be looking to shock Steven Gerrard’s side.

Joe Aribo could be set for a first competitive appearance for Rangers
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Celtic, under Brendan Rodgers, were stunned when Lincoln Red Imps beat them in Gibraltar three years ago.

Gerrard could hand competitive debuts to summer signings Jake Hastie, Greg Stewart, Joe Aribo, Sheyi Ojo, Jordan Jones and George Edmundson.

All six players featured in Rangers’ 5-0 friendly win over Oxford on Sunday, with Stewart and Ojo finding the target.

Sheyi Ojo celebrates scoring against Oxford United at Ibrox
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Gerrard admits the new boys have given him a selection headache ahead of their first leg clash against St Joseph’s at the Victoria Stadium.

He said: “I thought in the main they were all very positive with their debuts. A lot of them are here with us and should play some part.

“We are very pleased with not just Sunday’s performance, but how they have all settled in really quickly.

Steven Gerrard has a selection headache ahead of the St Joseph’s clash
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“Andy [Halliday] and I were speaking in the car on the way here about how they have started very strongly, and straight away they have given me big decisions to make.

“As the weeks go by, sometimes I’m going to have to make big calls and leave big players out who are good players. But we are hoping this is going to be a 60-game season.”

Alfredo Morelos, who has been linked with a move away from Ibrox after bagging 30 goals last term, has travelled to Gibraltar after missing the Oxford win with a groin strain.

It could see veteran striker Jermain Defoe lead the line for the Gers.

Influential midfielder Scott Arfield will not feature in Gibraltar having just returned from international duty with Canada.

Andy Halliday is likely to partner Aribo and Ryan Jack in midfield, while Jones, Ojo and Defoe could form a dangerous front-three.

In defence, Allan McGregor could have captain James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Edmundson and Borna Barisic playing in front of him.

How Rangers could line-up against St Joseph’s in the Europa League

Is this how Rangers could line up against St Joseph’s?
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Crystal Palace transfer news: Ten possible replacements for Manchester United-bound Crystal Palace star Aaron Wan-Bissaka

27 Jun

Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be a huge miss for Crystal Palace next season.

The right-back is set to seal a £50million move to Manchester United this week.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is set to become one of the world’s most expensive defenders
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The talented 21-year-old impressed in his first full season in senior football, making 35 Premier League appearances for the Eagles.

Wan-Bissaka’s impending departure, followed by the potential exit of Arsenal target Wilfried Zaha, could leave Palace in serious trouble heading into the new campaign.

Below, talkSPORT.com look at 10 players who could replace Wan-Bissaka at Selhurst Park.

Max Aarons (Norwich)

Max Aarons has bags of potential
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Aarons played a starring role for Norwich in a breakthrough season as the Canaries won promotion to the Premier League last term.

He featured 43 times, scoring three goals and registering six assists in all competitions.

Manchester United were keeping tabs on the 19-year-old before turning their attention to Wan-Bissaka.

While Norwich will be playing Premier League football next season, Palace appear to be in a better position to offer Aarons more years in the top-flight.

Timothy Castagne (Atalanta)

Timothy Castagne is a full Belgium international
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Castagne is reportedly a transfer target for Palace.

Earlier this month, the Belgium international, who helped Atalanta to a third-placed finish in Serie A last season, admitted he wants to play in the Premier League one day.

He said: “Serie A is a very competitive league, I like it, but one day I would like to compete in the Premier League.

“As for the offers, I will be honest, in general there isn’t a lack of them, but the priority is Atalanta.”

Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool)

Nathaniel Clyne could complete a return to Crystal Palace this summer
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Clyne came through the ranks at Crystal Palace before letting his contract run down to join Southampton for an undisclosed compensation fee in 2012.

The England defender has been plagued by injuries for the past two years and was shipped out on loan to Bournemouth in January.

He will struggle to usurp Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez from Liverpool’s starting XI next season.

And with just one year left on his Reds contract, Palace could agree a cut-price deal with Anfield chiefs for their former player.

Reece James (Chelsea)

Reece James was a fans’ favourite at Wigan
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James got his first taste of senior football with Wigan in the Championship last term.

Starting 44 of Wigan’s 46 league games, he helped the Latics preserve their second tier status.

James made such a huge impact at the DW Stadium that manager Paul Cook gave him the captain’s armband for their final-day win over Millwall.

The 19-year-old is recovering from a broken ankle, but deserves a chance to play in the Premier League.

With Cesar Azpilicueta firmly Chelsea’s first-choice right-back, a loan move to Palace could be beneficial for James’ development.

James Tavernier (Rangers)

James Tavernier has been a hit in Scotland
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Tavernier scored an impressive 17 goals from right-back for Steven Gerrard’s side last season.

The Rangers captain has been linked with moves to Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Brighton, and he would be a stellar addition to Crystal Palace’s squad.

Tavernier could fill the attacking void left by Wan-Bissaka.

Danilo (Manchester City)

Danilo’s playing time at Manchester City has been severely restricted due to Kyle Walker’s form
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With Manchester City reportedly chasing Juventus right-back Joao Cancelo, Danilo’s future at the Etihad looks bleak.

Inter Milan are believed to be interested in signing the former Real Madrid man, who is valued at around £20million.

In terms of wages, this could be an expensive deal for Palace, however, when called upon by City boss Pep Guardiola, Danilo has never let him down.

Connor Roberts (Swansea)

Connor Roberts is a crucial part of Swansea’s defence
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Roberts signed a new long-term deal with Swansea last November.

It has been a meteoric rise for the 23-year-old, who has become the first-choice right-back for Swansea and Wales over the past year.

Similarly to Tavernier, Roberts’ attacking qualities could soften the blow of losing Wan-Bissaka.

Swansea’s owners are renowned for selling the club’s top players – and Roberts could be the next star to follow the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Daniel James out the door.

Craig Dawson (West Brom)

Craig Dawson was an ever-present for West Brom last season
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Burnley are understood to be monitoring Dawson, who is set to enter the final year of his contract at West Brom.

He is valued at £15million and would bring versatility to Palace’s backline.

Under Tony Pulis in the Premier League, Dawson was a consistent performer at right-back.

Following relegation to the Championship last year, the 29-year-old moved back into his favoured central defensive position.

Cedric Soares (Southampton)

Cedric Soares is an experienced Premier League player
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Soares appears to be surplus to requirements at Southampton.

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl loaned the Portugal international to Inter Milan for the second half of last season as he put his trust in academy graduate Yan Valery.

Valery, who scored a stunning goal in a 3-2 defeat to Manchester United in February, repaid the faith shown by his manager as he helped Southampton beat the drop

His first-team breakthrough was rewarded with a new long-term contract in March.

Soares, who has four years of Premier League experience, could be a cheap alternative for Palace.

Kieran Trippier (Tottenham)

Kieran Trippier could have played his last game for Tottenham
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Tottenham are reportedly willing to sell Trippier with Juventus and Napoli interested in signing him this summer.

The full-back struggled for form during the 2018/19 season, which cost him a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for their Nations League games.

Trippier, who would cost half of Wan-Bissaka’s £50million fee, would be an ideal replacement for the England Under-21 international.

When asked about his future following Tottenham’s Champions League final defeat to Liverpool, Trippier said: “I don’t know. I go home now, spend time with my family, just recover after a long, difficult season. Everybody’s got a decision to make, no matter what.

“I see a lot of speculation about me not being here. I give everything, 100 per cent every game, win lose or draw. So we’ll see what happens in pre-season.”

Rangers defender James Tavernier joins Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Eden Hazard on illustrious list

22 May

Rangers defender James Tavernier has joined Europe’s top forwards on an illustrious list – and surprisingly it’s because of his attacking contributions.

The Gers skipper was involved in a staggering 37 goals this season from right-back, netting 17 times and creating 20 goals in all competitions.

Tavernier bombs forward on the Rangers right to good effect

The remarkable return puts him alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and Eden Hazard on double figures for both goals and assists.

Nobody got more assists than Tavernier’s 14 in the Scottish Premiership, while only four players scored more goals.

However, he could not inspire the Gers to a trophy as they went crashing out of the Europa League in the group stages and Celtic won all three domestic competitions yet again.

But who are the players with the most goal contributions in Europe’s top five leagues this season, according to OPTA.

Pablo Sarabia (Sevilla) – 22 goals, 15 assists

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37 goal contributions[/caption]

Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) – 28 goals, 10 assists

38 goal contributions
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – 31 goals, 7 assists

38 goal contributions
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Raheem Sterling (Man City) – 25 goals, 15 assists

40 goal contributions
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Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) – 30 goals, 10 assists

40 goal contributions
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Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla) – 30 goals, 11 assists

41 goal contributions
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Sergio Aguero (Man City) – 32 goals, 10 assists

42 goal contributions
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Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) – 38 goals, 9 assists

47 goal contributions
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Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) – 38 goals, 15 assists

52 goal contributions
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Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – 50 goals, 19 assists

69 goal contributions
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Rangers 2-0 Aberdeen: James Tavernier penalty double delays Celtic’s Scottish Premiership title celebrations

28 Apr

James Tavernier’s second-half penalty double helped Rangers finally get the better of Aberdeen in Glasgow with a 2-0 victory at Ibrox.

The Dons had knocked Gers out of both cup competitions in the city, and also silenced them on their last Ladbrokes Premiership trip south.

Steven Gerrard’s men have had some difficult outings against Aberdeen this season

But Tavernier ensured their was no clean sweep for Derek McInnes’ men as he swept home twice from the spot.

Defeat means Aberdeen – who finished the game with 10 men men after Andrew Considine was shown a second yellow card in conceding the second penalty – can no longer catch Gerrard’s team for second place.

And the Light Blues also avoided handing Celtic the title on the plate, with the champions-elect nine clear with nine points still available.

Before kick-off there was a minute’s applause in memory of Celtic great and former Dons boss Billy McNeill following his death earlier this week and the home supports’ tribute was every bit as gracious as the visitors’.

Both teams centred their approaches around the long ball. Rangers were looking to make the most of Jermain Defoe’s movement by slipping the veteran in behind, while Aberdeen set out hoping to make the most of Sam Cosgrove’s ability in the air.

The Dons nearly got the early breakthrough 13 minutes in when James Wilson dumped a long free-kick into the back-post area – but Cosgrove could only nod wide.

It was Gers’ turn to go long soon after as Connor Goldson shelled the ball in from the back, leading to a clumsy collision between Defoe and Aberdeen goalkeeper Joe Lewis.

The Pittodrie number one took a moment getting back to his feet but McInnes would soon have reason to be relieved that he was able to continue.

Gers turned up the heat as the game reached the midway point of the half.

Ryan Kent fired wide before Lewis had to make a stunning save to keep out Defoe after Scott Arfield had sent the Englishman through on goal as he flicked a Steven Davis pass round the corner.

Gers continued to push as the game ticked towards the break. Kent delivered a ball from wide on the right but Goldson headed over while Lewis stood firm to keep out further efforts from Tavernier and Davis.

But they only had to wait three minutes after the change of ends for the breakthrough.

Davis forced an early corner and as the ball dropped at the back post, Lewis Ferguson got himself in a tangle with Defoe before tripping over Nikola Katic as he stood on the Croatian’s foot.

Referee Don Robertson showed no doubt as he pointed straight to the spot and Rangers skipper Tavernier was just as assured as he sent Lewis the wrong way with his penalty.

Defoe blew a great chance from point-blank range to double the lead after 58 minutes as Tavernier’s cross ricocheted off Lewis’ chest straight to the poacher – but he scooped over.

Tavernier had the ball in the net again after 64 minutes as he chipped over Lewis, but what would have been a stunning team goal was chalked out after the right-back had wandered offside.

But the captain did get his second as Robertson awarded Gers their second spot-kick.

Katic was again involved as Davis sent in another corner, this time going down rather softly after catching Considine’s flailing arm to the face.

Tavernier scored both of Rangers’ goals

The decision stunned the Dons defender and his frustration was compounded when Robertson produced a second yellow to go with the one he received just before the break as he was sent off.

Tavernier showed no mercy as he sent the ball passed Lewis’ despairing reach to confirm the points.

But Gerrard was in sentimental mood and afforded former club captain Lee Wallace a standing ovation from the home support late on ahead of his expected summer departure.

Rangers captain James Tavernier shares racist abuse he was sent on social media

25 Apr

James Tavernier is the latest footballer to be the victim of racist abuse on social media.

The Rangers captain shared an offensive message he received on Instagram – adding a shoulder-shrugging emoji to the post.

Rangers captain James Tavernier was the victim of racial abuse on Instagram

The message read: “Hello black. U r f***ing dog s*** and should be playing for black.

“N**** n****.”

The post came six days after Tavernier took part in the Professional Footballers’ Association campaign in protest at an escalation of incidents of racial abuse online.

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A host of top players took part in a 24-hour social media boycott with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Mohamed Salah and Chris Smalling among the personnel involved.

Police Scotland were unable to confirm whether the message had been reported to them when approached by the Press Association.

The 27-year-old was targeted earlier this season when a supporter ran onto the pitch to confront him against Hibernian.

He then had objects thrown at him when Rangers played Motherwell.

Team-mate Wes Foderingham is another player who was the subject of racial abuse on social media last year.

Hibernian fan banned from attending any football ground in Scotland following confrontation with Rangers captain James Tavernier

11 Mar

The Hibernian fan who confronted Rangers captain James Tavernier on the side of the pitch during a match has admitted to a breach of the peace charge.

Cameron Mack, of Port Seton, climbed over an advertisement hoarding at Easter Road on Friday night.

The fan confronted Tavernier, who suffered no harm thankfully

He kicked the ball away from the Gers defender before confronting Tavernier.

Mack has been banned from attending any football ground in Scotland and will be sentenced to prison next month.

Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster condemned Mack’s actions, labelling them as “completely and utterly unacceptable”.

She also vowed the culprit would be banned from Hibernian’s home ground for life.

The confrontation was one of many incidents to take place in the UK in recent times, with Celtic’s Scott Sinclair almost being struck by a glass bottle being thrown from the crowd at Easter Road.

Meanwhile, there were two separate incidents that took place in English matches.

On Sunday, a fan was arrested for running onto the pitch and pushing Chris Smalling during Manchester United’s defeat at Arsenal.

Earlier that day, a Birmingham City fan punched Aston Villa skipper Jack Grealish after invading the pitch during the Second City derby.

A fan punched Jack Grealish from behind – an incident which shocked the football world

The culprit, Paul Mitchell has been jailed for 14 weeks after admitting to assault and pitch encroachment.

The incident on Friday night took place as Tavernier went to pick the ball up and prepare to take a throw-in.

Deferring sentencing until next month, Sheriff Adrian Cottam told Mack: “The nature of the offence has caused a lot of discussion and concern and is a serious matter.”

Hibernian vs Rangers: Ally McCoist fears Scottish football is in danger of slipping ‘back to the dark ages’ after latest fan incident

9 Mar

Ally McCoist believes Scottish football is in danger of slipping back to the dark ages and social media is a factor following the latest incident in the Hibernian vs Rangers game on Friday night.

A Hibs fan ran onto the playing area during their Scottish Premiership clash and kicked the ball away from Rangers captain James Tavernier.

The two then laid hands on each other before the supporter was led away by police.

Ally McCoist fears Scottish football will return to the dark ages

It follows a string of incidents that has put fans behaviour under the spotlight in Scotland.

Former Rangers striker McCoist told talkSPORT: “Maybe I’m wrong in saying social media is a factor, particularly because I’m not on it.

“I do hear stories and my older boys will tell me some of the stuff that is written is vitriolic and it’s horrible.

“I think it was getting better but is now in danger of slipping back into the dark ages.

“Social media has so many good things but also gives some of these idiots a platform to say things that shouldn’t be said and to organise trouble.

“It’s really disappointing. Scottish football for the first time, in a long time, has all of its clubs back in the top flight and it’s exciting.

“It’s a good league and the overall quality and product has been better. I’ve really enjoyed it but this is concerning.”

Rangers’ captain James Tavernier was confronted by a Hibs fan

Celtic’s Scott Sinclair was nearly struck by a glass bottle at the same ground last week.

Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos had a coin thrown at him during their Scottish Premiership match against St Mirren in November and there have been a number of other coin-throwing incidents in recent months.

Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke was also subject to sectarian chants from Rangers fans last month.

The incident at Hibs on Friday is the latest in a long list of poor crowd behaviour that is concerning McCoist.

A bottle was thrown at Scott Sinclar last week at the same ground

“Last week there was a bottle thrown at Scott Sinclair from the same corner of the stadium at the Hibs vs Celtic game,” he said.

“The following day I went up to the Aberdeen vs Rangers game and I said to the boys I don’t think I’ve felt a horrible atmosphere like that at a football ground for about 20 years. It was absolutely poisonous.

“I said to a couple of the cops after the game and asked them what was wrong but they said they didn’t know.

“They felt there was an underlying current at that particular game that was horrible and not nice.

“But last night, this man comes on just before half-time. I don’t know if he’s drunk or what he’s on.

“I don’t think he’s going to attack James Tavernier when he comes on. I just think he’s had too much to drink, runs on and tries to kick the ball.

“James Tavernier confronts him. It could have escalated.

“To be fair to Leeann Dempster she comes on immediately after the game and you can feel her anger and can feel her rage.

“I don’t just think it is the Rangers vs Celtic thing, far from it, the sectarianism problem, particularly in the west of Scotland, hasn’t always been great.

“I genuinely felt it was getting better, and it probably still is getting better, but social media is a vehicle for some idiots.

“The sectarian problem was not the problem last night and not the problem from Aberdeen vs Rangers last Sunday. There’s something deeper that has to be stamped out.”

Hibernian vs Rangers: James Tavernier attacked by fan at Easter Road just a week after Scott Sinclair had a bottle thrown at him

8 Mar

James Tavernier was attacked by a yob at Easter Road just six days after Scott Sinclair had a bottle thrown at him.

The Rangers captain had to be restrained as the fan was escorted off the pitch by security in yet more disgraceful scenes in Scottish football.

Tavernier was confronted by the yob at Easter Road

Tavernier was about to take a throw in on the right hand side when the fan kicked the ball out of his hands and shoved the right-back.

Incensed, Tavernier confronted the individual who had squared up to the 27-year-old. Although it looked as though thew individual was ready to throw a punch, the authorities thankfully removed him.

During the Scottish Cup game against Celtic last Saturday, a glass bottle narrowly missed winger Sinclair as he prepared to take a corner.

The near miss was the latest in a series of missile-throwing incidents which have plagued Scottish football this season.

More to follow…

Rangers captain James Tavernier signs new deal at Scottish Premiership club

18 Sep

Rangers captain James Tavernier has committed his future to the club by signing a new contract.

The right-back was linked with a move to West Brom in the summer but Gers turned down two bids for the player.

The deal will keep Tavernier at the club until the summer of 2022.

He told the Rangers website: “I am delighted to go through the window and still be a Rangers player, and I have obviously been rewarded with a new contract.

“So I am absolutely buzzing with that and it is thanks to the club and my representatives for pulling it over the line.”

FC Ufa boss would like to sign Alfredo Morelos, James Tavernier and Connor Goldson if they can knock Rangers out of the Europa League

29 Aug

Ufa manager Sergei Tomarov would like to raid Rangers in the transfer market if his side can emerge victorious against the Scottish Premiership team in the Europa League.

The Russians will have to overturn a 1-0 deficit in their play-off after Rangers won by that scoreline in the first leg at Ibrox.

Connor Goldson, whose goal separates Rangers and Ufa going into the second leg, is one of the players Tomarov is interested in

FC Ufa v Rangers match preview

However, Tomarov believes his team are capable of doing that and if they are successful in their endeavours he would like Ufa to sign Rangers trio Alfredo Morelos, James Tavernier and Connor Goldson.

Steven Gerrard’s side bought Borna Barisic from beaten opponents Osijek and are close to agreeing another deal for winger Eros Grezda.

Meanwhile, Ufa signed striker Lovro Bizjak from NK Domzale, who they defeated in their opening qualifier and appear set to agree a deal for Progres Niederkorn midfielder Olivier Thill after edging out the Luxembourg side in the last round.

But Tomarov admitted it might be hard to make the audacious swoop for the Gers players as the European transfer window closes on Friday.

Morelos reportedly attracted the interest of Ligue 1 giants Lyon earlier this summer

He said: “Who do I fancy? Rangers have many fine footballers. I really liked Alfredo Morelos up front, Connor Goldson in the centre of defence and the captain James Tavernier at right-back.

“However, time isn’t on our side. There isn’t too much time to buy players because the transfer deadline is very soon.”

Ufa were only formed in 2011 but have made excellent progress up the Russian lower leagues and made it to the top flight within three years.

And their manager said that their showdown with Rangers is the biggest game in their short history.

Tomarov added: “I can say for a fact this is the most important game in our history because we’ve gone in seven years from the third tier of Russian football to the Premier League.

“Now we’re in the Europa League and within touching distance of the group stage.

“Who knows, maybe next time it will be the Champions League, so we go step by step. Qualification is the most important stage for us at this period in our history.”