The Lions succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Rangers last weekend, with goals from Scott Arfield, Joe Aribo and Fashion Sakala making sure Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s came away with three points in his first league game in charge.
The visitors got off to the best possible start as they took the lead after just eight minutes. A clever long ball from James Tavernier over the top of the Livingston defence was taken down well by Arfield, who dinked the ball neatly over the onrushing Max Stryjek to make it 1-0.
On 16 minutes, Rangers made it 2-0 giving Livi a mountain to climb despite having not played poorly. A nice move ended with Alfredo Morelos teeing up Joe Aribo on the edge of the box. The Nigerian sent a lovely curling effort towards goal, leaving Stryjek with no chance as it kissed the bar on its way into the back of the net.
The Lions fought back though and tried to make a game of it after a frustrating opening 20 minutes. On the half hour mark, they had a goal back through Bruce Anderson.
A terrific long ball from Jack Fitzwater was brought down by Alan Forrest who quickly got a shot off at goal when in behind the Rangers back line. His shot was parried by Allan McGregor, but Anderson was on hand to head home the rebound to give Livi a glimmer of hope.
On the stroke of half time, Livingston should have been level but were denied by a fantastic save from Allan McGregor. Odin Bailey’s cross made its way to the back post where Alan Forrest looked like poking the ball home from close range. The winger didn’t get a perfect connection on the ball on the stretch, but his finish was destined for goal if it wasn’t for a superb reflex save from McGregor who kept his side in front.
Livi were unlucky not to be level at the break, but can have no complaints about the final result as in the second half they created very little, with the visitors dominating the match looking to seal it with a third.
Their possession and pressure paid off when James Tavernier got his second assist of the afternoon, this time from a corner. A basic delivery into the centre of the box saw substitute Fashion Sakala rise above Jason Holt to head beyond Stryjek who had come to collect the ball but misjudged the flight of it.
That sealed the three points for Rangers and Giovanni van Bronckhorst. It was a valiant effort from Livingston, especially after being 2-0 down. However, those early goals and two goal cushion for the Ibrox club made it an almost impossible result to rescue.
Match Report: Calum Brown
Livingston: Stryjek, Devlin ▊, Fitzwater, Parkes, McMillan (Shinnie 59), Holt, Omeonga ▊, Montaño, Bailey (Kabia 80), Forrest ▊, Anderson (Penrice 59)
Subs not used: Maley, Longridge, Sibbald, Panayiotou
Goals: Anderson (30)
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Ughelumba, Barisic, Kamara, Aribo, Hagi (Sakala 73), Arfield ▊, Kent (Patterson 73), Morelos (Defoe 90)
Subs not used: Lundstram, Davis, Wright, McLaughlin
Goals: Arfield (8), Aribo (16), Sakala (78)
Referee: David Munro