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Giovanni van Bronckhorst keen not to disrupt Rangers’ semi-final preparation

Motherwell v Rangers – cinch Premiership – Fir Park
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

James Tavernier has revealed that new Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst will wait until the start of next week to address his squad in order to avoid disrupting preparations for Sunday’s Premier Sports Cup semi-final against Hibernian.

The Dutchman was officially confirmed as Steven Gerrard’s successor at Ibrox on Thursday, but will play no part in the build-up to this weekend’s last-four showdown.

Captain Tavernier said: “The gaffer didn’t really want to disrupt the team this close to the semi-final. I am seeing him Monday morning so I’ll have a good chat with him then.

“All the dialogue between me and Gio has been through (sporting director) Ross Wilson. Gio wanted to be respectful and not in any way disrupt things. I know all the boys and myself are really looking forward to working with him. It’s a new chapter for the club.”

Gerrard left last week after being headhunted by Aston Villa, but Tavernier believes the Rangers squad will not allow the mid-season managerial change to knock them off course. The captain also praised club management for their handling of the situation over the past week.

He said: “We’re in an industry where people come and go. It’s part of the game. Everything’s happened so quick.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s more than a week already but that’s football. I thought Ross and everyone at the club handled it really smoothly and put everyone at ease. We’ve gone through a great process in the transition.

“In the past managers have been let go (sacked by Rangers), but this is a different type of transition because Steven did such a good job that a Premier League club came in for him.

“The squad we’ve got now is one of the strongest I’ve played with and I’ve got great belief and confidence in them.

“The way this transition will be, the new gaffer is taking over a great squad and he’ll just be implementing his tactics and the way he wants to play. The foundations are there so I see it being a seamless transition.”

Despite the managerial flux, Tavernier insists Rangers have been well prepared for their semi-final as they bid to win a first major knockout tournament since their financial meltdown a decade ago. 

He said: “Training’s been really positive and sharp this week. David McCallum, Brian Gilmour and JD (Jermain Defoe) have all stepped in to take training and it’s been good. The international boys came back on Wednesday and Thursday so we’ve had some good sessions together.

“We know domestically in the cups we’ve not been there but we want to build on what we achieved last year in winning the league. We want to take it into this season and have a real good go at it. It’s about winning trophies at this club.

“First day I signed here, that was one of the things you could see, the trophy cabinet and how many things Rangers had won over the years. We want to carry that on. We want to get to the final.”

James Tavernier was speaking at a Premier Sports Cup event. Premier Sports is available on Sky, Virgin TV and the Premier Player. Prices start from £12.99 per month.