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Philippe Clement hails influence of captain James Tavernier on Rangers

Philippe Clement spoke about James Tavernier helping him stop the “fire” when he took over at Rangers after the Light Blues went top of the cinch Premiership with a 3-0 win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Ivorian midfielder Mohamed Diomande opened the scoring in the 37th minute and a late penalty double from skipper Tavernier, which took his Rangers tally to 120, moved Clement’s side two points clear of Celtic with 12 fixtures remaining.

Rangers were trailing their Old Firm rivals by seven points when Clement took over from Michael Beale last October and the Belgian’s first port of call was a chat with the 32-year-old, who arrived at Ibrox in 2015.

Clement, who described Tavernier’s goal tally for a full-back as “crazy”, said: “I am happy with Tav, he was the first player I talked with, that’s normal when you come into a building and you know the fire is going on.

“I wanted to see how to stop it as fast as possible so I wanted all the in

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