James Tavernier’s failure to face the music showed Rangers captain lacks leadership qualities – Gordon Parks – Gordon Parks

If only James Tavernier could do a man-marking job as well as Gavin, the Rangers security guy.

In the bowels of the Wankdorf Stadium on Thursday night, the Light Blues skipper bolted through the mixed zone.

It should have been his moment to hold his hands up and he did, but only to use his mobile.

Phone pressed to his ear, whether in pretence, on the blower to the speaking clock or not, he wasn’t for talking.

His post-match brief, as Rangers’ on-field leader, was to explain a second-half Europa League implosion against Young Boys in Bern.

Throw in the fact he’d sold the jerseys with two blunders which cast some crucial Group G points to the wind and it wasn’t a good look for the captain.

Tav peeked out towards the waiting media before getting his guard of dishonour as Gav led him safely on to the team bus before there was any grilling.

(Image: Daily Record)

Tavernier being appointed team leader has always been unconvincing. Those suspicions were reinforced with his
behaviour in Switzerland.

Maybe inside the dressing room he’s a general for his troops and a motivational speaker but it’s hard to picture.

A captain leads by example. Win, lose or draw, it’s about
facing the music, not doing a runner.

Steven Davis and Connor Goldson did their bit, insisting there would be no 
finger pointing and absolving the captain of blame. Collective responsibility is all fine and well but it’s more of a soundbite than the truth.

Back at the team hotel it was probably different, with 
criticism whispered in quiet corners, as is the way in football.

Contrast Tavernier’s behaviour with that of his Old Firm
 counterpart Scott Brown.

No matter the circumstances, ducking out of the post-match press duties isn’t his style.

These things matter, they tell you about the strength of
 personality and the make-up of the characters in a dressing room.

Jordan Rossiter
(Image: SNS)

A point in case was Lee Wallace who didn’t front up after the
debacle against Progres
 Niederkorn. It was left to Jordan Rossiter to face the music.

Wallace was savaged for that and in the eyes of some it was a failure from which his Rangers career would not recover.

Rewind a few years and a Europa League defeat to
 Maribor saw not one single Rangers player appear in the mixed zone. Rookie defender Ross Perry was shoved out a side door to answer questions like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

A few years back David
 Beckham faced Rangers for AC Milan in a friendly and spent over an hour dealing with the media in his post-match duties, even when he didn’t have to.

He knows it’s a big part of his job and nothing was too much trouble as he moved from one microphone to the next to offer up superstar insight on a range of topics.

It says a lot about a person’s character how they stand up to adversity, even in trivial matters such as football.

Steven Gerrard would have been front and centre. He proved that while captaining England at the World Cup in Brazil 2014, the worst showing in the history of the Three Lions at a major finals.

This season leadership will matter more than ever if Gers are to lift a trophy or two

It’s good to talk, Tav. The quest for the title this season may be decided by leadership and who is prepared to face up to the most difficult questions.

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