The Lions started their cinch Premiership campaign last Saturday with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of last season’s unbeaten champions Rangers.
It was a daunting task, with Steven Gerrard’s men so dominant on home soil during his tenure – this, their 20th consecutive victory at Ibrox.
Not much was expected of Livingston, with the hosts firm favourites for the victory, and things got off to the worst possible start for David Martindale’s side as Rangers netted the opener after just eight minutes. James Tavernier’s free-kick found Ianis Hagi unmarked at the back post, and the Romanian took the ball down wonderfully before feigning to shoot to create space for a shot. The midfielder took out a few Livi players as he shifted the ball onto his right foot and smashed it into the top corner from close range to send the 23,000 inside Ibrox wild.
Joe Aribo had a chance moments later as he was denied by Stryjek at the back post, then Ryan Kent fired an effort from the edge of the box towards the target but again the Polish goalkeeper was equal to it.
The Lions created their first chance of the game halfway through the first half, and really should have done better with the opportunity. Adam Lewis’ corner found Ayo Obileye, but the defender misjudged his header completely as the ball came off the side of his head and away from any danger.
Half Time – Rangers 1-0 Livingston
Despite losing that early goal, Livi were valiant for large spells of the game and limited Rangers to only half chances with their solid shape and structure. Although, The Light Blues were comfortable throughout with little to no threat on their goal.
Kent and Davis combined before teeing up Scott Wright, but the winger’s effort from outside the area sailed well over the bar.
Then, Kent had another decent opportunity as the hosts still searched for their second as tried to find the bottom corner from the edge of the box. Max Stryjek was down well again to palm away the danger.
Livi’s flurries forward were a rarity, but substitutes Jack Hamilton and Jaze Kabia linked up well and created a half chance. Kabia’s flick on found Hamilton, but the striker dragged his shot from long range well wide of the post.
After continued pressure though, the all-important second goal finally came for The Gers on 78 minutes thanks to a stunning strike from Scott Wright. Livi failed to clear their lines properly, and the ball broke to Wright inside the box. The winger met it on the volley and, with the outside of his right boot, sent a delightful effort beyond Stryjek to give his side that much sought after two-goal cushion.
Livingston were forced down to ten men as, with all three substitutes made, Jaze Kabia hobbled off injured. This made matters worse as the hosts showed no mercy, adding a third in stoppage time. Again, The Lions failed to get rid of the ball convincingly as Kemar Roofe pounced on the loose ball and fired home to seal the three points for Rangers.
Glen Kamara had a golden opportunity to make it four from close range but, leaning back, the Finland international blazed his strike over the bar.
The scoreline was perhaps harsh on Livingston, but they kept it respectable for large spells against last season’s champions and can hold their heads high despite a 3-0 defeat.
Match Report: Calum Brown
Rangers: McLaughlin, Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Ughelumba, Kamara, Davis, Aribo (Lundstram 64), Hagi (Wright 31), Sakala (Roofe 71), Kent
Subs not used: McGregor, Itten, Simpson, Patterson
Goals: Hagi (31), Wright (78), Roofe (90)
Livingston: Stryjek, McMillan, Obileye, Fitzwater, Lewis ▊ (Kabia 56), Pittman, Holt, Sibbald ▊ (Devlin ▊ 66), Forrest ▊, Anderson (Hamilton 68), Penrice ▊
Subs not used: Barden, Montano, Reilly, Kelly
Referee: John Beaton