By support

8th Dec, 2016 | 3:25pm

Warburton delivers strong message to axed Rangers star

By Dominic Toner

Mark Warburton believes that Rangers defender James Tavernier has not been performing to a high standard.

The 25-year-old was named on the bench in the last match against Aberdeen and was used as a second-half substitute, with Lee Hodson preferred in the starting line up.

Hodson certainly made the most of his chance against Aberdeen and scored a decisive goal in the 2-1 league victory.

Tavernier has been Rangers’ first-choice right-back since his arrival in 2015 from Wigan, but now faces a fight to feature in the starting XI.

Warburton has claimed that Tavernier’s performances have dropped off recently.

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“Tav has a huge future but sometimes you had to recognise that you haven’t hit the level,’ Warburton said, as quoted by the club’s official Twitter account.

Tavernier played a major role in the club’s promotion last season and has been highly impressive since he moved to Rangers.

The attack-minded right-back made 50 appearances last campaign in all competitions, scoring 15 goals and supplying 23 assists.

He has struggled at times this season with opposition wingers and is still adjusting to the Scottish Premiership.

Rangers are currently second-placed in the table and are eight points behind leaders Celtic, who have played three games less.

Tavernier will want to help the Scottish giants build some momentum and may need to show better defensive discipline to play ahead of Hodson.

The Gers host fourth-placed Hearts on Saturday in a league encounter and Warburton faces a selection headache at full-back.

In other Rangers news, the club’s former midfielder Joey Barton has made a surprise revelation.