Rangers 1-0 Livingston: Scott Arfield scores the fourth goal in three games while Gers wins a nervous win
Even when Ibrox was battered by 55 km / h wind and swirling rain, this counted as a bit of peace for Rangers after the storm of last week.
Dropping further points was unthinkable. The collapse in Rugby Park, which caused so much damage to their title ambitions, simply had to be followed by a win. Everything less and the feeling that a season is completely blown off course would become overwhelming.
Steven Gerrard’s side did what was needed. On a pitch, after a delay 24 hours earlier, they maintained a 10-point deficit on Celtic with a game in hand.
Scott Arfield’s 59th minute strike gave Rangers a nervous feeling, but had to beat Livingston 1-0
Arfield pushed home from the edge of the penalty area when Ibrox was hit 55 kilometers per hour on Sunday
Alfred Morelos was substandard again when he drove in and out of the game and missed opportunities
It was not particularly beautiful in the midst of the storms. Nor completely convincing. However, Rangers deserved a win achieved by the goal of Scott Arfield in the 59th minute. They had a greater number of chances and often found Livingston keeper Ryan Schofield to be in a great shape, but still had a lot of jitters when Lyndon Dykes hit the post with just eight minutes to play.
If that had entered, the atmosphere in Ibrox would have become more gloomy than the sky above. As it was, the men of Gerrard can hold on to the stability that this result offers as they look ahead to the last 32 first match of Thursday against Braga.
After dropping eight points in their six previous games in 2020, Rangers will have to prove that they can successfully make their way through many more games before their qualifications as champion challenges are restored. However, further misery has been prevented for now. News about Celtic, who managed to get hold of a late winner in Pittodrie, only served to further underline the non-negotiable nature of this assignment.
Rangers: McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Katic, Halliday; Arfield, Davis, Jack; Hagi (Stewart 83), Kent (Kamberi 56), Morelos (Aribo 89)
Unused subs: Foderingham, Flanagan, Kamara, Jones
Livingston: Schofield; Guthrie, Brown, Lamie; Lawless (Menga 59), Crawford (Sibbald 77), Jacobs, Lawson, Souda (McMillan 72); Pitman; Dykes
Unused subs: Maley, Taylor-Sinclair, Devlin, Robins
- Scottish premiership
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Ligue 1
- Series a
- La Liga
Arfield increased his fourth goal in three games if desired. His power was gratefully received by Gerrard, given that Alfredo Morelos seems to have lost his mojo. Rangers hope that a return to the Europa League – in which he is the top scorer – can restore their talismanic striker in top form.
Livingston had been unhappy with such a quick reorganization of the fixture and argued for Monday night instead. Manager Gary Holt, however, would have few complaints about the performance of his party. They remain fifth.
Gerrard emphatically criticized his players in Kilmarnock and disputed their mentality, but opted for large-scale adjustments. Steven Davis was restored to midfield for Joe Aribo in the lonely tweak to the starting line-up.
Holt took the opposite approach in the aftermath of their 2-1 midweek win over St Mirren, and made a total of six changes. One of them was enforced because goalkeeper Robby McCrorie of Rangers is unable to play against his parent club. The introduction of Schofield was anything but a handicap.
The collision of Rangers with Livingston lasted 24 hours after the Ibrox pitch was deemed unplayable
The refurbishment also led to an intriguing tactical form. Livingston started by deploying a three-man defense but without clearly defined wing-backs for support. Captain Keaghan Jacobs and Steve Lawson sat just in front of their center backs to strangle the available space for Ryan Kent and Ianis Hagi. Playing against the Holt team is never a comfortable experience.
As such, they provided a difficult opening for Rangers. A few long throws from Lyndon Dykes had already tested the Ibrox back line before one of Ciaron Brown caught the wind to give Aymen Souda a run through the channel on the right inside.
The corner was against the French-born Tunisian, with his effort slipping across the face of Allan McGregor’s target mouth.
Gerhard’s side slowly found a lot of rhythm in difficult circumstances under the foot and above the head. Not to mention the tight marking. A first glimpse of threat came in 16 minutes when Andy Halliday headed a deflected cross from Ryan Jack. Morelos bumped into it, but Ryan Schofield – on loan from Huddersfield – managed to stand out and make a crucial stop.
Rangers needed something to disrupt the yellow shirt range for them. Scott Arfield found it by winning possession in midfield before he quickly let go on the left on the left. He drifted in on his right foot and was not far away with a beaten, curly blow. Niko Katic then passed after the visitors were unable to remove a set piece.
Rangers were the better side in the first half, but were too often guilty of giving the ball away
The men of Gerrard had it better, but without ever sparkling. Too many quirky passages and loose touches were responsible for this.
Yet they would have been at the forefront of the break, except for the excellence of Schofield. With ten minutes to go halfway, the keeper of Livingston produced a save to stand next to almost everyone who was shown at Ibrox this season.
Davis drove past Jacobs to work with Morelos a one-two and poke a passing ball for Halliday. The left back made a good connection, but watched in surprise as Schofield held out a hand that pushed the ball up and over the top via a bar clip.
What followed six minutes later was not that spectacular, but no less important. A rare, smooth break from Rangers saw Morelos sweep the ball for Hagi, who acted for the supporting Davis. Schofield, however, shot off his line to adapt a thundering ride from the skipper in Northern Ireland.
Livingston dice with a dismissal when Jon Guthrie Connor Goldson lost with a clearly reckless, stud-up challenge when the Rangers cleared away in the middle back. Referee Euan Anderson, however, only reached for a yellow card. Several Ibrox players, with some justification, pointed out that the penalty should have been worse.
Jack was the victim of a Robbie Crawford challenge that could have resulted in a new booking just after the restart, but it didn’t stop the midfielder from giving the home team the necessary drive. His forward wave and pass released Morelos. In accordance with the poor performance of the Colombian, he cut wildly wide out of his right boot.
Kent then let Schofield save a low shot in what was his last act. The removal of the £ 7 million man for Florian Kamberi was Gerrard’s first replacement.
The Hibernian borrower came in when the match went through a crucial three-minute swing. Livingston almost took the lead when a long throw from Brown found its way to Souda. McGregor repelled his lift from close by.
From that shock, Rangers provided a 59-minute advantage. Hagi managed to get his head up and choose a nice pass that matched Arfield’s equally opportunistic forward run. Unmarked on the edge of the area, he managed to fire a low shot under Schofield to cause a somewhat clenched fist celebration of a relieved Gerrard.
The home team was looking for another to dispel any doubts. Jack was unable to hit the goal after a neat build-up of James Tavernier, Hagi and Morelos. Then the Ibrox top score was sidelined when he moved for Arfield to hit a slanted finish past Schofield and into the corner of his net.
From 20 meters, dikes crashed against the post, so Ibrox caught his breath. But, while Kamberi also saw an attack that was offside, Rangers crossed the line.