Two goals in the opening 15 minutes from Joe Aribo and Jermaine Defoe were enough to seal a comfortable 2-0 win for Rangers at Ibrox.
With Celtic dropping points in a 3-3 draw with Aberdeen prior to kick-off, Rangers knew a win would see them increase their lead at the top however a win for the Lions would see us jump back in to the top six.
However, the points were all but wrapped up for the hosts within the first quarter of an hour with two quick goals from Aribo and Defoe. Efe Ambrose was caught in possession and after Hagi played in Defoe who seen his shot blocked by Stryjek, the attacker slid the ball across the face of goal for Aribo to tap home from close range.
Only 6 minutes passed before Defoe made it two. Rangers captain James Tavernier played an exceptional ball from the right back area right into the path of Defoe who met the inch-perfect pass and glided a low, first-time shot past Stryjek from just inside the box. A fantastic finish that left the Polish stopper with no chance.
The Lions came to life shortly after though and after Jason Holt and Julien Serrano linked up well on the left wing, the latter found Scott Pittman on the edge of the 6-yard box and despite beating Alan McGregor, his shot came back off the post. Agonisingly for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, the ball bounced off him and into the arms of goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
Rangers continued to threaten with crosses into the box that both Defoe and Tavernier couldn’t quite get on the end of as the hosts looked to snatch a third.
It wasn’t all one way though and after the introduction of Josh Mullin for Efe Ambrose at the break, the Lions looked a bit more threatening going forward with the wide man instantly winning a corner after getting beyond Bassey at left back and then forcing McGregor into a low save with his feet after a good turn and shot just inside the box.
Alan Forrest was also introduced from the bench and done well down the left to create an opening but his shot lacked the power required to beat McGregor and the Rangers ‘keeper saved comfortably.
Jordan Jones was introduced for Rangers as Gerrard attempted to spark some life into his side, and the Northern Ireland international forced a fine fingertip save from Stryjek before bursting through on goal, only for Nicky Devlin to make a fantastic recovery tackle as Jones looked set to shoot.
A difficult afternoon for the Lions but as Gary Holt would say in his post-match interview, these aren’t the games that we’ll be judged on or that will define our season. Next up – Motherwell at the Tony Macaroni Arena.
Rangers: McGregor, Tavernier, Helander, Goldson, Bassey, Jack ▊, Davis, Aribo (⇔ Arfield 75), Kent (⇔ Itten 75), Hagi (⇔ Jones 84), Defoe (⇔ Roofe 64)
Subs not used: McLaughlin, Balogun, Barisic, Kamara, Morelos
Goals: Aribo (9), Defoe (16)
Livingston: Stryjek, Brown, Guthrie ▊, Ambrose (⇔ Mullin 45), Serrano, Bartley, Sibbald (⇔ Forrest 67), Devlin, Holt, Pittman, Emmanuel-Thomas (⇔ Poplatnik 85)
Subs not used: Taylor-Sinclair, Fitzwater, Pignatiello, Lawson, , Robinson, Lokotsch,
Referee: Nick Walsh
Match Report: Dave Black