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Tavernier ready to battle Hodson for Gers spot

By Andy Newport

Rangers right-back James Tavernier has vowed to learn from his Tynecastle nightmare - but insists he will never completely rein in his attacking instincts.

Rangers have a return against Hearts at Ibrox today, when Ian Cathro will take charge of the visitors for the first time, with his number two the Northern Ireland assistant coach Austin MacPhee.

Englishman Tavernier was at fault for both Hearts goals when the Gers slumped to a feeble defeat in Gorgie last month.

He twice allowed Robbie Muirhead to sneak in behind him and beat Wes Foderingham but the former Newcastle and Wigan full-back has promised he will not be caught out again after poring over replays of his costly lapses in concentration.

Tavernier paid the price for his part in that Tynecastle set-back as he was left-out of the side which faced Aberdeen last Saturday.

The man who took his slot - Northern Ireland's Lee Hodson - fired the crucial second goal in a 2-1 win over the Dons. But Tavernier is ready to fight for his place in Mark Warburton's side.

"I am definitely working hard to get back in the team," he said.

"Lee had a good game and it was a good goal, so credit to him for that. He took his opportunity with both hands and he had a great game, as did the team.

"Lee is now there and he is pushing both me and the skipper Lee Wallace, which is what we both need."

However, Tavernier - who hit 15 goals from his defensive slot last term - believes it would be the wrong option to curb his forays forward for good.

He said: "It took me a couple of days to get my head around what happened. It's devastating to go there and lose, especially with the two goals being my fault.

"I've looked over the goals a few times and it wasn't easy to watch.

"But these are the things you learn from and I have. I've taken it on board but at the same time you can't take too many things away from your own game.

"You can adapt it but this one has taught me to be a bit more aware of what is happening around me.

"For the second goal, I've not seen the man and he has run from left-back to score. I probably shouldn't have pressured the ball in the midfield and concentrated on defending in behind me.

"It's about getting the balance to my game right. Before the Hearts game I felt I'd been defending really well this season. But I can clearly see both goals at Tynecastle were my fault. I will hold my hands up to that but it will only make me a stronger player if I learn from it."

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