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St Mirren full-back Richard Tait inspired by free-scoring James Tavernier

Rangers v Motherwell – Betfred Cup – Semi-Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

St Mirren defender Richard Tait admits he aspires to be like fellow full-back James Tavernier.

But Tait will not stand back and admire the free-scoring Rangers captain when he leads his side out in Paisley in the Betfred Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Tavernier took his season’s tally to 17 goals on Sunday when he netted a sublime 30-yard free-kick against Dundee United to maintain Rangers’ unbeaten record this season.

Tait said: “They are scoring from all areas of the pitch, especially when you have got a full-back like Tavernier, who is absolutely outstanding.

“As a full-back myself, you look at him and that’s what you aspire to be like. He’s a fantastic player, but they’ve got many other players in the team who are terrific as well.

“It’s going to be a tough night, I’m pretty sure we are going to have to ride our luck at times, but if things go our way then there’s no reason why we can’t cause an upset.

“It’s a one-off game, anything can happen. You see cup upsets all the time and we’ll be doing our absolute utmost to make sure we are in the next round. It’s going to be very difficult but all we can do is try.”

Tait has come out on top against Tavernier and Rangers in the competition before, beating Pedro Caixinha’s side at Hampden in the semi-finals for Motherwell three years ago.

“Getting to the Betfred Cup final was massive for the club and going on and getting to the final of the Scottish Cup, the community around Motherwell at that time was fantastic,” the 31-year-old said.

“Everyone came together. You would be out shopping in Asda and there would be old ladies coming up to you and wishing you good luck. You would never normally get that.

“It was good for the area and, at a time like this, if we can push and manage to do that it would be awesome for Paisley, for sure.”

Tait would not be quite so warmly received in the supermarkets of Motherwell this week after helping Saints win 1-0 at Fir Park on Saturday following his unhappy exit in the summer, amid a withdrawn contract offer and a breakdown in communication.

“I enjoyed it,” he said. “I won’t lie to you, I enjoyed that win. More importantly it was three points for us but on a personal note I was delighted to go there and get three points.

“I love everyone at Motherwell, a great football club. Things didn’t work out and sometimes that’s football. You move on and I’m in a good place, I’m enjoying myself at St Mirren and that’s all that matters.”

Tait is not the only Saints player in a good place with Jim Goodwin’s fully-fit squad unbeaten in nine matches.

“I think if you asked the manager at the start of the season, this is probably what he envisaged with the lads he brought in and the squad he put together,” Tait said.

“Sadly up until now there’s been all sorts going on with Covid and suspensions and stuff, and now you are finally seeing what he had in mind.”