Rangers captain James Tavernier believes the team are delivering on Steven Gerrard’s demands for the season so far and showed that by reaching the League Cup final.A 3-0 win over Hearts set the Ibrox side up for a showdown with Celtic next month for the first trophy of the season. It’s the first time the team have reached a final since 2016 and Tavernier has been part of teams that have fallen short in the last four over previous years. The right-back said that manager Gerrard had set challenges for his team and that so far, with the team competing on all fronts, players had stepped up to the mark.“It’s always difficult because you’re always playing with a new team since the previous year but we knew that this season we needed consistency and I think we’ve shown it throughout the season so far,” Tavernier said. “It’s just the level of performance that the boys have been putting in. “It’s what the gaffer demands and we’ve gone and delivered today.”A Filip Helander goal and a double from Alfredo Morelos saw Rangers see off Hearts without too much danger and Tavernier felt his side could be pleased with their efforts and look forward to the final.“That’s what we wanted to do before the game,” he said. “We haven’t had the greatest of (records in) semi-finals since I have been here but a club like Rangers needs to be in finals and competing for trophies.“We knew it would be a tough game today but we handled Hearts the best we could and came out on top.“Everybody wants to win a cup. “Us lads in that changing room all want to win a cup and be successful but we will concentrate on the Europa League and the (league) season and when the final comes along we will concentrate on that.”
In the children’s book story classic, the B’rer Rabbit, the smart and cunning rabbit gets himself unstuck from a tar pit by getting the fox to throw him into a briar patch where the rabbit feels most comfortable and the fox wouldn’t dare go. In the end the fox is outsmarted by the rabbit and the rabbit gets away. Few animals, or any of us, know what to do when caught in the thorns and the density of a thicket. But, like the rabbit, some love to be in the place of the prickly briars as they navigate better there and find safety and security in doing so. The same can be said in our careers.Recently, I have been helping to recruit a CEO out of a position that from my vantage point is a briar patch where I certainly wouldn’t go. This CEO is in a very tough job in a small town that doesn’t add anything special on the home front. The CEO has issues with the Board, co-workers and the overall business model. Yet, when presented with an opportunity to address all of the downsides of the current job, this executive says, “I have only been here a few years and as tough as it is, I know I am here to grow and learn through this stage of my career.”It’s been an interesting recruiting challenge to have someone know they could do so much better in a new role but want to finish what they started. By staying they are potentially missing the career move that could jettison their career forward. This CEO is familiar and comfortable in the briar patch. And, I suspect that down the path this executive will end up being wildly successful because of staying put as they are learning from this hard and challenging assignment.I tell this story to others who may feel like right now they are in the thicket of their career with a job that feels like there are thorns all around them. If we become comfortable in how to manage within the thicket and navigate among the briars, then we can build confidence when stuck in one place where we don’t want to be or no one else would dare go. It could well be that in that moment that we differentiate ourselves from all others in our careers.The last few years have definitely been the briar patch for many. But remember, if that is you, then you have gained the experience of endurance, perseverance and most of all, how to make the most of what may have felt like the worst. And for that, no briar patch in the future will look daunting to you.