Livingston 1-3 Rangers: Champions hold off fightback to stretch lead

Joe Aribo sweeps in Rangers' second goal after just 16 minutes
Joe Aribo swept in Rangers’ second goal after just 16 minutes

Rangers held off Livingston’s fightback to maintain their Scottish Premiership lead on Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s first league match in charge.

Scott Arfield and Joe Aribo scored fine goals in the first 16 minutes to put the visitors firmly in command.

Bruce Anderson responded for Livingston before the break but Fashion Sakala killed off their challenge.

Victory moves Rangers six points clear of Hearts in second place and seven ahead of Celtic.

However, Ange Postecoglou’s side have the chance to get back to within four points when they face Aberdeen at 15:00 GMT on Sunday.

Van Bronckhorst got his first win with his first match in charge on Thursday night against Sparta Prague and made just one change as Arfield replaced Steven Davis in midfield.

The Canada international’s familiar trait of running in behind from deep opened up the chance for the first goal as he ghosted in between two of Livingston’s three centre-backs to collect James Tavernier’s clever pass and scoop the ball over Max Stryjek into the net.

Livingston were opened up again soon after as Ryan Kent kept his width on the left flank as the ball went to the right-hand side, and he was able to receive a diagonal switch before feeding Morelos, who teed up Aribo to sweep a brilliant finish off the under side of the bar and in.

Livingston looked rattled but were able to take advantage of Rangers’ ongoing slackness at the back this term. Jack Fitzwater arrowed a long ball in behind Connor Goldson for Alan Forrest, and Anderson pounced to head home when his team-mate’s shot was saved.

The response drained the tempo from Rangers’ game and goalkeeper Allan McGregor had to stretch to push Forrest’s back-post shot over the bar before the break as Borna Barisic stood off and allowed Bailey’s cross to arrive.

Despite a near 10-minute delay to the second half after Rangers fans threw snowballs on to the pitch, both teams initially upped the pace after the break and Stryjek had to deny Hagi, Kent, and Aribo.

However, Livingston managed to stay in the fight, up until the final 12 minutes when substitute Sakala capitalised to head in Rangers’ third after Stryjek misjudged Tavernier’s corner.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Livingston

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 32Stryjek
  • 2DevlinBooked at 45mins
  • 5Fitzwater
  • 4Parkes
  • 21McMillanSubstituted forPenriceat 59′minutes
  • 18Holt
  • 33OmeongaBooked at 69mins
  • 17ForrestBooked at 31mins
  • 14BaileySubstituted forKabiaat 80′minutes
  • 11Montaño
  • 9AndersonSubstituted forShinnieat 59′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Longridge
  • 10Sibbald
  • 15Panayiotou
  • 22Shinnie
  • 29Penrice
  • 36Maley
  • 37Kabia

Rangers

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6Goldson
  • 3Bassey
  • 31Barisic
  • 18Kamara
  • 17Aribo
  • 7HagiSubstituted forPattersonat 73′minutes
  • 37ArfieldBooked at 9mins
  • 14KentSubstituted forSakalaat 73′minutes
  • 20MorelosSubstituted forDefoeat 90+2′minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Lundstram
  • 9Defoe
  • 10Davis
  • 16Patterson
  • 23Wright
  • 30Sakala
  • 33McLaughlin

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Livingston 1, Rangers 3.

  2. Second Half ends, Livingston 1, Rangers 3.

  3. Foul by Glen Kamara (Rangers).

  4. Jason Holt (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Attempt saved. Jermain Defoe (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Scott Arfield.

  6. Foul by Nathan Patterson (Rangers).

  7. Andrew Shinnie (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Substitution, Rangers. Jermain Defoe replaces Alfredo Morelos.

  9. Attempt saved. Scott Arfield (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Alfredo Morelos.

  10. Attempt blocked. Jason Holt (Livingston) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  11. Foul by James Tavernier (Rangers).

  12. Cristian Montaño (Livingston) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  13. Joe Aribo (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Foul by Stephane Omeonga (Livingston).

  15. Offside, Livingston. Jack Fitzwater tries a through ball, but Jaze Kabia is caught offside.

  16. Attempt saved. Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Glen Kamara.

  17. Substitution, Livingston. Jaze Kabia replaces Odin Bailey.

  18. Goal! Livingston 1, Rangers 3. Fashion Sakala (Rangers) header from very close range to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by James Tavernier with a cross following a corner.

  19. Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Tom Parkes.

  20. Attempt blocked. Fashion Sakala (Rangers) left footed shot from very close range is blocked. Assisted by Alfredo Morelos.

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