Rangers welcome James Tavernier back to training but Ryan Jack’s wait goes on

Andy Newport, PA
·4-min read

James Tavernier is closing in on his return action with Rangers – but Ryan Jack has been sent to see a London specialist as puzzled Ibrox chiefs struggle to get to the bottom of his injury woes.

Skipper Tavernier damaged knee ligaments in a Europa league clash with Royal Antwerp back in February and was forced to watch on from the sidelines as Steven Gerrard’s team cruised over the Premiership finish line to claim the club’s first title in a decade last month.

But there has been mixed news as on the injury front as Ibrox assistant boss Gary McAllister confirmed that while Tavernier is back in light training alongside Niko Katic – ruled out since August with a serious knee injury – Jack is no closer to getting his boots back on.

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The Scotland midfielder has been ruled out since suffering a recurrence of his lingering calf issues against Dundee United three days after Tavernier’s blow in Belgium and was forced to pull out of Steve Clarke’s national squad for last week’s World Cup qualifiers.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Cup third round showdown with Cove Rangers, McAllister said: “The positive on Tav is that he is back on the grass and that was nice to see yesterday.

“He’s out there training on his own with the physios but that’s a big positive. He’s getting closer and closer.

“Ryan has been down in London seeing some specialists. We’re awaiting some of the results coming back up from that visit.

“We’re obviously just trying to get some further investigations to get to the bottom of Ryan’s problem, so we’ll wait for the results of that.

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“Niko Katic is back on the grass which is also good to see.”

There was positive news on the contract front over the international break as Gers announced veterans Allan McGregor and Steven Davis had penned new one-year deals, with Leon Balogun also understood to have triggered the option of an extra 12 months in Glasgow.

McGregor will be 40 by the time his new deal expires in the summer of 2022 but McAllister sees no signs the former Scotland keeper is slowing down.

“It was a no-brainer, absolutely, and he thoroughly deserves it as well,” he said. “The way he comes in here every day, his preparation for games is pretty stunning.

“All goalkeepers work extremely hard but Allan is something different and he is meticulous in his preparation.

“The saves that he makes, whether it be first minute or last minute, against a team at the bottom of the league or top of the league or in a European tie, his concentration and focus is there to be seen. It is well deserved that he has got another year.

“He is in great condition and it will be entirely up to Allan. It comes from his gut and his desire to keep going.

“I have been a player that has played pretty long and you get to a point and maybe his body will tell him. At the moment, there are no signs of that.”

Davis is also continuing to defy the passage of time, with the 36-year-old a leading contender for Scotland’s player of the year having also just chalked up a British record 126th cap for Northern Ireland.

Former Scotland captain McAllister added: “It is phenomenal, an amazing achievement to get that amount of caps.

Rangers and Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davis now holds the British record for international appearances after winning his 126th cap
Rangers and Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davis now holds the British record for international appearances after winning his 126th cap(Brian Lawless/PA)

“This season, I have just been asked who has been our player of the year. There have been four or five outstanding players amongst a whole squad of players who have played really well.

“Steven Davis has been impeccable for big chunks of the season and been outstanding. Really pleased that he has signed another year and he will be with us again.

“You do tend to look down the spine of a team so when you have McGregor and you have Steven Davis as well in that line, that bodes well.”