FIVE KEY PLAYERS THAT SEALED RANGERS 55-th LEAGUE TITLE:
Allan McGregor enjoyed one of his finest seasons in a Rangers jersey to help restore them to former glories, while Glen Kamara has been invaluable.
As Rangers celebrate their first title in 10 years, Sportsmail takes a look at the five key figures in the dressing room that set the standard in Steven Gerrard’s squad.
Two months beyond his 39th birthday, McGregor has shown no sign of age diminishing his powers. This has been one of the goalkeeper’s finest seasons in a long and successful career.
It was exemplified by his performance in the vital January 2 victory over Celtic at Ibrox that helped dispel any possibility of a title comeback from the fallen champions.
McGregor can be relied upon in the biggest games but his campaign was full of such of displays. He made half-a-dozen fine stops in February’s 1-1 draw against Hamilton that Steven Gerrard otherwise branded his side’s ‘worst display of the season.’
McGregor gave his own take in typically blunt fashion. ‘We were rubbish,’ he fumed in an exasperated post-match interview.
For long enough this term, the Ibrox captain looked on a one-man mission to rewrite statistical records and redefine what was expected from a full-back.
Between late August and mid-December, he scored 11 goals in 12 Premiership matches. Penalties were ruthlessly tucked away alongside smart finishes from open play. And he continued to set them up, too.
Tavernier was a driving force in ensuring Rangers’ title challenge got up and running in formidable fashion.
The 29-year-old has seen plenty of tough days since move to Ibrox in 2015. His reward for perseverance is an indelible place in the club’s history as the skipper of the team that ended a decade-long wait for success.
The rock of the Rangers rearguard. Goldson has played every minute of every Premiership game this season and his durability has been matched by his performance levels.
Gerrard speaks of being given a dirty look if he even suggests giving the centre-back a rest. Goldson demands responsibility and is one of the undisputed leaders of the squad.
The 28-year-old’s vocal organisation has been clearly heard throughout a campaign played out in front of empty stands.
Two goals at Parkhead to clinch the vital October win over Celtic – a result from which Rangers never looked back – provided a personal high-point.
At 36 years of age, Davis has continued to bring composure and class to the Rangers midfield. A fourth title medal with the club is a rich return on his decision to return for a second spell.
Questions were again asked of Davis when Gerrard’s side struggled after the winter break last season. Those willing to edge him towards retirement were likely playing close attention when he returned to action after the enforced four-month break prior to this campaign.
The Northern Ireland captain didn’t take long to answer any doubts about his continued effectiveness. Intelligence shines from his play but it also matched by a work-rate that could be the envy of many a decade younger.
Gerrard’s faith in him is absolute. ‘One of the most low-maintenance players I’ve ever encountered,’ the Ibrox boss has enthused. Like McGregor, he sets standards for others to follow.
Over the two-and-a-half years since his £50,000 move from Dundee, Kamara has grown into a vital asset at Rangers.
His development could almost be seen as emblematic of the whole Gerrard project, in which astute coaching has improved individuals to deliver collective success.
Few players in the Premiership make football look quite so effortless as Kamara when on peak form. He controlled the opening Old Firm game of the season without apparently breaking into a sweat and has been an important cog in a midfield that has balanced defensive security with progressive passing.
More than once this season, Gerrard has voiced his demand for the 25-year-old to be given an improved contract.
With Kamara set to play a key role for Finland in the Euros this summer – and having already shown his talent in the Europa League – getting that deal signed off would be a wise move.