Mark Warburton has hailed James Tavernier's mental strength after the Rangers captain slammed home a penalty against Celtic at Ibrox on Monday.

The Englishman, along with Alfredo Morelos, were both at fault as Daizen Maeda opened the scoring for Ange Postecoglou's side in the New Year derby fixture.

But in a rousing second-half display, Rangers turned the game on its head and Tavernier dispatched an impressive penalty from the spot.

Former Ibrox manager Warburton, who is now a coach at West Ham, watched the highlights of the fixture and Tavernier's sharp shooting was no surprise to him.

He told The Sun: “We were training while Rangers were playing Celtic, so I watched the highlights later.

“I saw Tav’s mistake for the first goal, but then I saw his penalty, which sums him up.

“He responded so well to his setback, and demonstrated the character you require to play for a great club like Rangers.

“Tav’s got great mental strength, and he showed it again in the Celtic game.

“The pressure on him to score with the penalty was enormous — but he showed his bottle with a fantastic strike that no keeper would ever have got near.

“Tavernier trusted his technique and got his rewards. It was a very big moment for Michael Beale and everyone else at Ibrox.

“That penalty put them ahead but unfortunately Celtic were able to get a late equaliser. Yet there were a lot of positive aspects to that Rangers’ performance.

“I’m sure Michael and his staff will have been pleased with a lot of what they saw.

“You’ve seen enough of James Tavernier over the years to know he’s got what it takes. As captain he never shirks away from responsibility.

“It was a difficult situation for Tav after that first goal. It’s at home, the fans aren’t happy, and it’s against a strong Celtic team looking to go 12 points clear at the top.

“But once more he showed what he’s made of.

“A captain has to stand up, there’s no two ways about it.

“It comes down to the individual, and in Tavernier, Rangers have a fantastic leader.

“I was delighted but certainly not surprised to see how he dealt with that mistake.

“Tav’s had low moments with Rangers, but he’s kept on bouncing back.

“Now there’s another manager in, and he will do whatever he feels is necessary to make them the strongest team in Scotland once more.

“You can see Rangers have made changes in the way they play and that requires the players to adapt. But Tav has demonstrated throughout his time at Ibrox that’s no problem.

“Personally, I’d see no reason why he wouldn’t stay on as Rangers captain.

“It’s the new manager’s prerogative and far be it from me to tell him what to do.

“I had my time in charge and loved it. Now it’s Michael’s opportunity, and I’m sure he’ll want to make the most of it.

“A lot can happen in football. But I know for a fact Tavernier is very committed to the club, and takes a great pride in being captain.”