The moment was fitting. Minutes on from a penalty miss that James Tavernier would subsequently blame his wife for, more on that later, he would have his moment in front of the Broomloan stand.

As the ball hung in the sky it seemed to gravitate towards Tavernier just at the edge of the box. The magnetic force of that right boot which has so often controlled a ball in the sky like a pass delivered with time was hit with a vengeance back towards David Marshall who’d called bluff moments before from the spot. The presence of Will Fish on the line merely got in the way of the inevitable.

65 of his 131 career goals have been penalties but so many have been like this. Powerful, emphatic and the result of sheer quality. As the Rangers captain became the UK’s highest-ever scoring defender in yesterday’s 3-1 win over Hibs it was only right that such an accolade was achieved in style. 

“It is crazy. If you would have told me when I first jumped into professional football that I would have a chance to become the highest-scoring British defender in history I would not have believed you,” he reflected during his post-match press conference.

“That is down to all the teammates I have played with over the years who have helped me through the journey. I will just continue working hard and see how many I can get until I hang my boots up a long way down the line.”

Philippe Clement is not one to champion individual accolades or single out players but the Rangers manager saw it fitting to do just that for Tavernier in the dressing room post-match. Only weeks after the right-back surpassed John Greig as the club’s highest-scoring defender, the 131st strike of his professional career has him above any other defender to play the professional game in Britain. 

“It’s an amazing achievement especially as he still has a couple of years to go so he can only make this record bigger and bigger,” Clement added speaking to the press post-match.

“If you speak about the full history of football then you cannot imagine how many good defenders and how many defenders with good attacking qualities have played the game. To be there on top – it’s an amazing achievement and we’re all proud of him.”

Tavernier always picks the location of his penalty kick before stepping up from 12 yards but this time, whether that record was playing on his mind or not when handed a chance from 12 yards early on, his wife called the shots.

“I listened to my wife on where to put the ball today,” he said smiling. “She said just go down the middle and you are guaranteed a goal - and it did not go in. She is getting the blame for that one. I had to respond and I did.”

Speaking after the Viaplay Cup win in November when Tavernier provided the winner late on, Connor Goldson suggested that the right-back would not be fully appreciated until someone else has the daunting task of filling his shoes. He’s right. What the defender has done across nine seasons at Ibrox is not normal. Sure, penalties have helped, but the very fact Tavernier’s taken them since 2017 shows the quality he possesses as a ball-striker. 

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Admittedly Tavernier has always been an attack-minded full-back, someone relied upon to convert and create and often liberated by the tactical blueprint. But all of these goals have come while part of a back four. All of these attacking positions assumed with a defensive recovery never far away. 

During the Rangers Review’s exclusive interview with Tavernier at the start of the year, we watched back some famous goals to better understand what makes the defender’s trademark strikes and how exactly this unique player has been formed. Attacking crosses at the back post, free-kicks and volleys like yesterday were all discussed and dissected. 

"All strikers are told you should follow the ball,” Tavernier explained. “I’ve always had an instinct in the box. I have a knack of sniffing the right moments. I love scoring goals and always have done. I have the intuition of when to get in the box, knowing when players will deliver.”

There were times at the start of this season when Tavernier looked on a downward curve. Admittedly he was not alone but now in a team that is rejuvenated under a manager who’s ripped up this campaign’s expectations and allowed dreamers to rewrite them, the Rangers captain looks no closer to slowing down. 

As covered in-depth over the international break a change in playing style has impacted Tavernier’s role, likely for the better. The captain is no longer only providing width in the final third. He’s now occupying narrower roles and moving infield, as evidenced yesterday by the shots attempted from the edge of the area and the half-space run to create an excellent chance for Cyriel Dessers at the start of the second half.

Ibrox took a near-collective gasp in injury time when the right-back called for medical attention and relaxed collectively when it emerged cramp was the issue. Tavernier had three teeth removed at the start of the week and his diet was impacted as a result. There’s quite a big game next Sunday if you haven’t heard and adding to that 131-goal total may well be required.

Collective accolades will mean more to the man signed from Wigan than those enjoyed on his own and these next two months hold the potential for some big ones. 

James Tavernier has written himself into so many conversations. Arriving at Ibrox having played for nine clubs by the age of 23, nearly a decade on he’s in the Rangers Hall of Fame and yesterday claimed another slice of history for himself. It still feels as if there are a few more chapters in this particular story, for the highest-scoring defender in British history.