Scottish Premiership
Livingston0Rangers2

Livingston 0-2 Rangers: Steven Gerrard's side remain level at top of table

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Highlights: Livingston 0-2 Rangers

Rangers remain level on points with Celtic at the top of the Scottish Premiership after sweeping aside Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

But with Celtic matching the scoreline in their win over Motherwell, Rangers go into the international break second in the table on goal difference.

Joe Aribo - carried off on his previous visit to Livingston - stroked Steven Gerrard's side into a first-half lead.

Alfredo Morelos added a second as the visitors eased to the points.

One sour note for the Glasgow side was Ryan Kent limping off early into the second half.

Livingston have now gone five games without a win since they beat Celtic last month, remaining seventh in the table.

Rangers douse Livi's spark

"It's the Tony Macaroni Arena they're heading to - not Madison Square Garden," Livingston head coach Gary Holt said in relation to remarks from Rangers counterpart Steven Gerrard. The Ibrox manager had appealed for players to be "protected" in West Lothian by referee Nick Walsh.

Whether mind games or genuine concern for his players' welfare, the comments had riled Holt, and lit fireworks under a fixture where so much was at stake for both sides.

Livingston had the top six and a second Old Firm scalp within five weeks in their sights. Rangers' neck-and-neck battle for the title with Celtic meant three points was everything to them.

Every foul, every 50-50 battle, was going to be under the spotlight. The first flashpoint came from Jack McMillan's sliding challenge on Glen Kamara. Blue shirts swarmed the referee, but just a yellow card was flashed.

Then Alfredo Morelos hit the turf inside the box after Jon Guthrie's challenge and gave Walsh another decision to make, but the Livi defender had won the ball.

Yet the early sparks soon fizzled out as Rangers enjoyed the bulk of possession and tested their hosts from distance. Ryan Jack's early shot took a wicked deflection before being tipped over, Kent whistled another one wide after Kamara's reverse pass.

League table

But the deadlock was broken when Scott Arfield ran through the middle unchecked, knocked Morelos' pass into the path of the on-running Aribo who planted it beyond the reach of Majita Sarkic from inside the box.

Sarkic's brilliance denied Rangers a second when he leapt to his right to tip away Kamara's goalbound shot. But he was beaten when Morelos got the advantage of a tight offside call, held off Livi's Hakeem Odoffin, and squeezed his 22nd goal of the season into the far corner.

Livi's chances were fleeting. Lyndon Dykes had a shot blocked just after Aribo's opener, then Steven Lawless fired straight at Allan McGregor following the second.

But as the second half wore on, despite Thursday's Europa League exploits against Porto beginning to take their toll, the home side were unable to get at Rangers.

Jermain Defoe could have squeezed in a third but Sarkic got down low to block, then in bizarre circumstances Borna Barisic's shot bounced under the goalkeeper but hit the post as the visitors finished with a a flurry.

Alfredo Morelos

Man of the match - Connor Goldson

Five weeks ago Dykes had been the main man as Celtic fell to defeat in West Lothian. Early on Livingston tried to go direct and hurt Rangers through the middle.

But Goldson dominated Dykes, barely giving him a sniff of goal, and instead the Livi man cut a frustrated figure as Rangers looked comfortable at the back.

'It was a mountain to climb' - reaction

Livingston manager Gary Holt: "If we kept it at 1-0 we had a chance, but we lose a poor goal. It's happened too easy and it makes it a mountain to climb. We need to get back at it."

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard told Sky Sports: "Celtic are in excellent form, they've had a big week themselves and they're scoring goals heavily and don't seem to be dropping any points so it's important we continue to do what we need to do, keep winning and staying in there."

Line-ups

Livingston

  • 30Sarkic
  • 14OdoffinSubstituted forTaylor-Sinclairat 60'minutesBooked at 81mins
  • 27Guthrie
  • 5Lamie
  • 21McMillanBooked at 20mins
  • 6BartleyBooked at 73mins
  • 16CrawfordSubstituted forJacobsat 70'minutes
  • 11Lawless
  • 8Pittman
  • 33LawsonSubstituted forSoudaat 60'minutes
  • 9Dykes

Substitutes

  • 1Stewart
  • 7Jacobs
  • 10Sibbald
  • 17Robinson
  • 20Souda
  • 22Tiffoney
  • 29Taylor-Sinclair

Rangers

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6Goldson
  • 5Helander
  • 31Barisic
  • 18Kamara
  • 8Jack
  • 17AriboSubstituted forStewartat 87'minutes
  • 37Arfield
  • 20MorelosSubstituted forDefoeat 82'minutes
  • 14KentSubstituted forOjoat 58'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9Defoe
  • 10Davis
  • 11Ojo
  • 13Foderingham
  • 15Flanagan
  • 19Katic
  • 24Stewart
Referee:
Nick Walsh
Attendance:
8,071

Match Stats

Home TeamLivingstonAway TeamRangers
Possession
Home40%
Away60%
Shots
Home5
Away13
Shots on Target
Home2
Away4
Corners
Home1
Away4
Fouls
Home17
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Livingston 0, Rangers 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Livingston 0, Rangers 2.

Foul by Borna Barisic (Rangers).

Keaghan Jacobs (Livingston) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Borna Barisic (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Keaghan Jacobs (Livingston).

Glen Kamara (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Keaghan Jacobs (Livingston).

Attempt missed. Borna Barisic (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner.

Attempt missed. Greg Stewart (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Greg Stewart replaces Joe Aribo.

Attempt missed. James Tavernier (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Borna Barisic (Rangers) hits the left post with a left footed shot from outside the box.

Attempt saved. Aymen Souda (Livingston) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Jermain Defoe replaces Alfredo Morelos.

Attempt missed. Connor Goldson (Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left following a set piece situation.

Booking

Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (Livingston) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair (Livingston).

Sheyi Ojo (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Connor Goldson (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

Corner, Livingston. Conceded by Borna Barisic.

Foul by Filip Helander (Rangers).

Lyndon Dykes (Livingston) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Sheyi Ojo (Rangers) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Booking

Marvin Bartley (Livingston) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Sheyi Ojo (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Marvin Bartley (Livingston).

Attempt missed. Scott Pittman (Livingston) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Keaghan Jacobs replaces Robbie Crawford.

Sheyi Ojo (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Jon Guthrie (Livingston).

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

Foul by Lyndon Dykes (Livingston).

Foul by Borna Barisic (Rangers).

Aymen Souda (Livingston) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Alfredo Morelos (Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ricki Lamie (Livingston).

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair replaces Hakeem Odoffin.

Substitution

Substitution, Livingston. Aymen Souda replaces Steve Tevi Lawson.

Substitution

Substitution, Rangers. Sheyi Ojo replaces Ryan Kent because of an injury.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic1210113672931
2Rangers1210113572831
3Aberdeen137332015524
4Motherwell137152019122
5Kilmarnock135351215-318
6Ross County133551528-1314
7Livingston133461619-313
8Hibernian122641623-712
9Hearts122551517-211
10Hamilton132561424-1011
11St Johnstone122461228-1610
12St Mirren12228716-98
View full Scottish Premiership table

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