Livi produced a gallant display to claim a thoroughly deserved point against Championship leaders Rangers at The Tony Macaroni Arena.
The Lions came from a goal down to claim a share of the spoils as Myles Hippolyte cancelled out a first-half strike from Jason Holt. Livi boss Mark Burchill made just one change to the side that lost narrowly to Hibs three days earlier as Jordyn Sheerin took the place of Ross Millen.
It was the Lions who forced the first chance of the game after five minutes when Jordan White brought the ball down and fired in a low effort that Wes Foderingham did well to hold. Rangers then forced their first attack after 12 minutes and Holt looked set to break through the Lions defence but slipped as he burst through, allowing Marc McCallum to gather with ease. Patient build-up play from Rangers then ended with Nathan Oduwa curling an effort high over the bar after 20 minutes.
Rangers were enjoying more of the game and their play was rewarded on 22 minutes as they broke the deadlock when low ball in was cleared only as far as Holt and he coolly placed a low first-time shot past McCallum to make it 1-0. Livi responded well to the loss of the goal and came close within a minute when Sheerin turned brilliantly and fired in a thunderous effort which cannoned off the arm of a Rangers defender but ref George Salmond awarded only a corner. Jackson Longridge then made a terrific run down the left, leaving Gedion Zelalem and James Tavernier for dust, but could only loop his cross over the bar.
Livi nearly found themselves 2-0 down on 32 minutes when Barrie McKay found space and curled a fine effort past McCallum but it crashed back off the post, allowing Livi to clear. Martyn Waghorn then found himself in space in the box on 36 minutes but his shot was weak and McCallum was able to gather easily.
The last attack of the half almost saw Livi draw level as a long throw from Hippolyte was flicked on to the unmarked White but he could only head straight at Foderingham from six yards, ensuring that Rangers took a one-goal into the interval.
Half-time: Livingston 0-1 Rangers
The second half burst into life as Livi drew level with the first effort of note on 51 minutes as, in a near-carbon copy of the visitors’ goal, a low cross fell nicely for Hippolyte and he took a touch to find space before curling a sweet strike low past Foderingham to level the scores. Gers boss Mark Warburton responded to the setback by making his first change as Kenny Miller replaced Oduwa. Ex-Lion Andy Halliday then tried his luck from distance on 61 minutes with an effort that forced McCallum into an excellent diving save. Holt then picked up the game’s first booking for a cynical tug on White.
Mark Burchill made his first change as Gary Glen replaced Sheerin but it was Rangers who forced the next big chance and Livi were grateful to McCallum for keeping them level as, with Miller appearing certain to score, the Livi stopper produced a magnificent reaction save to keep the scores level. Rangers then made their second switch as Dean Shiels replaced Halliday. Livi then had a huge shout for a penalty turned down as White sent Glen through on goal and he appeared to be bundled to the ground but the ref waved play on. Morgyn Neill then picked up Livi’s first caution for a foul on Zelalem.
Rangers were piling on the pressure and Miller drove a shot in on goal which Longridge did well to head to safety, with Kieran Gibbons clearing the resulting corner. A second Livi change followed soon after as Liam Buchanan replaced White before Waghorn threw himself to the ground inside the box and was rightly cautioned for his attempt to con the referee. A final Livi sub, Millen replacing Hippolyte, was the final act of note in the game as Livi held on for a fantastic draw.
Full-time: Livingston 1-1 Rangers
Next up for the Lions is a long trip north to take on League One promotion-chasers Peterhead in the third round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. The Blue Toon go into the game on the back of a 7-0 pasting of Cowdenbeath so it goes without saying that a real test awaits Burchy’s boys at the Balmoor Stadium on Saturday.
Livingston: McCallum, Longridge, Gordon, Pittman, Faria, White (Buchanan 86), Hippolyte (Millen 89), Gallagher, Neill, Gibbons, Sheerin (Glen 72)
Subs not used: Jamieson, Georgiev, Currie
Goals: Hippolyte (51)
Rangers: Forderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Wallace, Ball, Zelalem, Oduwa (Miller 56), Halliday (Shiels 79), McKay, Holt, Waghorn
Subs not used: Kelly, Clark, Aird, Wilson, Thompson
Goals: Holt (22)
Referee: George Salmond
Match report: Andy Crawford