Rangers could find room for Tavernier and Patterson in starting XI – McAllister

Nathan Patterson has impressed for Rangers in the absence of James Tavernier
Nathan Patterson has impressed for Rangers in the absence of James Tavernier (PA Wire)
11:26am, Tue 20 Apr 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Gary McAllister says Rangers may not face a selection dilemma over skipper James Tavernier and young pretender Nathan Patterson after hinting Steven Gerrard could squeeze both into his line-up.

Ibrox captain Tavernier is a player of the year candidate, having scored 17 goals from right-back this season.

But the knee injury that has kept him out since February has given 19-year-old Patterson the chance to show his talents.

The youngster has excelled in recent weeks, with calls for him to be included in Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for Euro 2020 growing by the week.

Having two in-form full-backs could leave Gerrard with a major headache as he mulls over who to leave out, but McAllister suggested Gers may re-jig their tactics to ensure Patterson, who has played as a right-winger for Scotland Under-21s, can continue his development.

“What a wonderful position for the manager and everyone here at the club to have two outstanding players in the same position,” said McAllister.

“Could that evolve and could there be a little bit of change there? Time will tell.

“The beauty is that we’ve got an outstanding youngster and a player whose numbers are probably among the best in the world from that area of the pitch.

“As a club we are uber-delighted to have two outstanding players in that area. There are different formations that, you never know, we might be able to get the two of them on the pitch at the same time.”

Gerrard will be hoping Tavernier is ready to make his return to Premiership action as Gers face the first of two back-to-back clashes with St Johnstone on Wednesday night.

Patterson and team-mates Bongani Zungu and Calvin Bassey will learn the result of their appeals against six-match bans for breaching Covid rules later on Tuesday, but they are likely to miss the trip to Perth.

Tavernier was back on the bench against Celtic on Sunday and McAllister has promised changes will be made to the team which earned a 2-0 Scottish Cup win to set up a quarter-final with Callum Davidson’s team this Sunday.

“After an Old Firm weekend and a big positive result, we bounce into this week,” he said. “But when you look at the week ahead, you think it’s just another big one.

“It’s the way we like it. I think we’ll probably freshen up for the league game on Wednesday.

“But over the two games we’ll be strong as we want to continue or form in the league and we want to progress in the cup.

“We know St Johnstone, they know us, as we’ve played them three times already. The message from us is we’ll be strong as we want to continue our run.

“We’re going in against a team that is highly organised, who has had a wonderful season.

“They will be full of confidence but we’ll be looking to go there and attack and win the game so we can keep this run going.”

Sign up to our newsletter