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Tavernier: Focus on league, not Europe

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By Joe Shread

Last Updated: 09/11/19 10:52am

James Tavernier captained Rangers to a 2-0 win over Porto on Thursday

Rangers captain James Tavernier insists the side's focus is on winning their first Scottish league title in nine years - and says their success in Europe is a "bonus".

Steven Gerrard's side beat Porto - who reached the Champions League quarter-finals last season - 2-0 on Thursday to boost their chances of qualifying for the Europa League knockout stages.

But Rangers' Old Firm rivals Celtic have dominated in Scotland for the last decade, winning eight successive league titles, and Tavernier says ending that run is at the front of their minds.

Rangers take on Livingston on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, and he said: "First and foremost, it's about trying to compete for the league. European football is a great addition for the club and the fans. It's a big bonus for us.

0:41 Steven Gerrard says his Rangers team 'will do everything' to watch Liverpool's top-of-the-table clash against Manchester City on Sunday Steven Gerrard says his Rangers team 'will do everything' to watch Liverpool's top-of-the-table clash against Manchester City on Sunday

"But everyone is here primarily for the league so we need to get three points at the weekend. We don't want to be going into the international break having dropped any points because it definitely lingers when you do.

"The Porto game will be certainly forgotten about. We have to keep the momentum going. We need to get a level of consistency. Last season we had speedbumps along the way that cost us. We can't afford to let that happen."

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While he is keen to ensure focus remains firmly on the league, Tavernier admits the win over Porto is one of the highlights of his time at Rangers, who he joined four years ago.

"That ranks as one of the best results in my time at the club," he explained. "Porto are a very difficult side, a Champions League (calibre) side. When we played them away from home in the first game you could see the level of class they had.

"But we knew with the full backing of our fans and with the sort of performance that we delivered in the second half that we could get a result. So we're delighted that we kept a clean sheet and scored two.

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