After a great away point midweek against Motherwell, a fantastic defensive display from the Lions meant a second point was registered courtesy of a well-earned 0-0 draw with Rangers.
It was no surprise given the bright start that Rangers have had to the season that they flew out of the traps here at the Tony Macaroni Arena, but with Livi shaped to defend the 18-yard box stoutly, the visitors were mainly forced wide with James Tavernier and Borna Barisic seeing a lot of the ball, and that bright start soon faded.
It took 32 minutes before the first sight of goal came about, with a rare moment of defensive fragility from the Lions, stemming from Nicky Devlin’s drive upfield. With the defender out of position, Rangers countered with Morelos but the outstanding Jon Guthrie forced the Columbian to shoot from a wide angle, from which he could find only the side netting.
Within eight minutes of the second half starting, a smart run from Ryan Kent’s finally provided the opening shot on target of the game, although it was a simple enough save for debutant Max Stryjek.
Midway through the second period, Morelos should have opened the scoring when Connor Goldson squared a corner into his path, but the usually deadly forward slipped before shooting and allowed the Lions to clear. He would miss another chance minutes later – heading Tavernier’s cross over the bar from an angle.
The most impressive effort of the game would soon follow, with Craig Sibbald taking matters into his own hands and from nearly 60 yards came close to catching out Jon McLaughlin in the Rangers goal with a wonderful attempted chip. The ‘keeper scurried backwards and prevented the ball from sailing in but had the ‘Gers stopper been half a yard further forward when Sibbald shot, it could have been one of the greatest goals ever scored at the Tony Macaroni Arena!
With five minutes remaining, Barisic must have thought he had given Rangers the lead when his curling free-kick from 20 yards beat the wall and looked ready to nestle in the top corner, just like he’d done the week previous at Ibrox, but Stryjek clawed it away with an absolutely stunning save – keeping the ball out before clattering against the post himself. It really was an outstanding save from the Pole who would talk after the game about having studied Barisic’s set-pieces.
If that was a moment of frustration for the left-back, it could have been all forgotten had Kent not missed the target altogether from a similar position in open play in added time.
When found by Rangers substitute Cedric Itten in space, he had time to pick out a spot but bent his effort a yard wide of the near post, leaving the Lions celebrating a hard-fought and well deserved point.
Next up – a trip north to take on Aberdeen at Pittodrie.
Livingston: Stryjek, Devlin, Fitzwater, Guthrie, McMillan, Sibbald, Bartley (⇔ Crawford 57), Holt, Pittman, Forrest (⇔ Robinson 67), Hamilton (⇔ Poplatnik 57 (⇔ Kouider-Aïssa 75))
Subs not used: Schwake, Taylor-Sinclair, Ambrose, Pignatiello, Tiffoney
Rangers: McLaughlin, Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic, Jack, Kamara, Arfield (⇔ Roofe 58), Hagi (⇔ Barker 58), Kent, Morelos ▊ (⇔ Itten 71)
Subs not used: Ughelumba, Edmundson, Davis, Firth, Patterson, Stewart
Referee: Nick Walsh
Match Report: Dave Black