Rangers skipper James Tavernier believes former captain Lee Wallace deserves to be remembered amongst the club’s greatest leaders.
Left-back Wallace is set to leave Ibrox this summer after eight years in Glasgow.
While a raft of stars jumped ship as Gers sank amid their 2012 financial implosion, the 31-year-old stayed to help lead the club back to the top flight.
But his relationship with the Light Blues’ hierarchy turned sour on the back of an angry dressing-room bust-up in the wake of a 4-0 Old Firm defeat by Celtic at Hampden 12 months ago.
Since then, the defender has featured just twice for Steven Gerrard’s team but the new boss gave the Ibrox faithful the chance to say their goodbyes when he introduced Wallace as a late substitute in Sunday’s Ladbrokes Premiership 2-0 win over Aberdeen.
For Tavernier – who took over the armband last summer – it was a richly-deserved ovation for a player who has continued to act with professionalism despite being frozen out of first-team action.
“He has been a terrific servant for the club,” said the right-back. “I was over the moon to see him come on the pitch.
“It gave me chills when his name was announced and the reception he got when he came on the pitch.
“He deserves it and it was good to see him back out there. It was fantastic – like the old days of me on the right and him on the left.
“He’s been a loyal servant. His picture is on the billboard behind the stadium. He’s been a terrific captain, especially for me, and I have enjoyed playing with him.
“When I first came he was a great leader and I still look up to him. You see his application every day, he never slacks, he’s always a top professional.
“He should always be remembered as a great servant to this club.”
Tavernier fired a pair of penalties to defeat the Dons. His haul of 16 goals this season has beaten his own record tally for a Rangers defender set during the club’s Championship winning season of 2015/16.
But with 14 of those goals coming from the spot, his feat has not been enough to impress club great John Greig, who previously held the honour after smashing 14 goals in 1967/68.
Tavernier said with a smile: “In the Championship season I broke John Greig’s record and I gave him some stick. But he gave me some back saying it was only the Championship.
“I am happy to remind him I’ve broke it again. But he just told me he didn’t take penalties. I’m getting stick again.
“We always chat after games and he’s the first to congratulate me. I’m really happy and want to finish the season off strong.”
Rangers’ win means the Ibrox side have guaranteed second spot but Derek McInnes’ side have a fight on their hands to secure European action.
They lead fourth-placed Kilmarnock by three points with three games to go and the Aberdeen boss said: “We need a big effort from everyone to get that European spot.
“We needed a lot of things to go our way at Ibrox and it didn’t happen but we move on now. We have three games left and we feel we have a couple of wins in it.”
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