Sunday, August 1

Rangers Close in on Invincible Season with Livi Win

Rangers’ quest for an Invincible league campaign will go down to the final day of the season after a 3-0 win at Livingston saw them clear the penultimate hurdle.

James Tavernier tucked home his 19th goal of the season from the penalty spot before Ryan Kent and Ianis Hagi sealed a 3-0 win at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

The new kings of Scotland have survived 37 fixtures without defeat so far, racking up 99 points in the process. They also notched their 25th shut-out of an astonishing league season, setting a new benchmark as they beat the Scottish clean-sheet record for a 38-game schedule set by Celtic back in 2014/15.

They now need only a draw to complete a blemish-free season and also smash through the century barrier when they host Aberdeen ahead of Saturday’s long-awaited trophy presentation.

Davie Martindale’s Livi still have reason to push on to the finish line ahead of their curtain-closer against St Johnstone, despite a fifth successive league game without a win. Victory for the winner will secure fifth place and a potential European slot.

There was a classy touch before kick-off as the hosts offered Gers a guard of honour from the halfway line as Gerrard’s team entered from the corner.

Rangers were making their third visit of the Premiership campaign to Almondvale.

The champions had hardly enjoyed their two previous trips along the M8, requiring a last-minute winner to scrape victory back in March following August’s frustrating goalless draw.

Rangers players celebrate Ianis Hagi's (R) goal to make it 3-0 during the Scottish Premiership match between Livingston and Rangers at the Tony Macaroni Arena
Rangers players celebrate Ianis Hagi’s third goal against Livingston

They appeared little happier on Livi’s sticky plastic surface in the opening stages this time, with the end-of-season vibe doing little to raise the enthusiasm levels.

Jack Simpson was definitely out of his comfort zone up against Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who created the first chance when he rolled Josh Mullin through on goal after sitting the former Bournemouth defender down on his backside.

Jon McLaughlin came to Simpson’s rescue that time but he soon found himself in Don Robertson’s book for dragging down Livi’s lumbering frontman after losing their next test of strength.

Rangers had been chapping at the Livi door without much success until three minutes before the break when Kemar Roofe’s gorgeous flick sent Hagi racing through.

Rangers fans stood outside Livingston's stadium to watch the champions in action
Rangers fans stood outside Livingston’s stadium to watch the champions in action

The Romania international got his shot away but was immediately clattered into by Max Stryjek.

Livi will feel it was a harsh award given Hagi’s shot was well off-target but by the letter of the law Don Robertson well within his rights to give the spot-kick.

Tavernier slotted past Stryjek’s right hand to the delight of the 200 fans who gathered to watch their team from a hill just outside the ground.

Like the Light Blues’ last visit, the locked-out loyal launched a barrage of fireworks in the 55th minute to mark their heroes’ title triumph.

Jaze Kabia missed two glorious chances for Livingston in the second half
Jaze Kabia missed two glorious chances for Livingston in the second half

Two minutes later their team exploded forward to grab the second.

Tavernier found Kent galloping infield with a pin-point 50-yard raker and the winger tapped home after a quick-fire exchange of passes with Alfredo Morelos.

Livi almost hit back immediately. Scott Pittman shook the bar with a volley but McLaughlin was up smartly to punch clear before Jon Guthrie could leap on the rebound.

Gerrard understands fans excitement but urges safety
Steven Gerrard says people need to understand the journey Rangers fans have endured over the past decade but urges supporters to stay safe on Saturday when the club are presented with the Premiership trophy.
Steven Gerrard says people need to understand the journey Rangers fans have endured over the past decade but urges supporters to stay safe on Saturday when the club are presented with the Premiership trophy.

But Martindale was left looking away in disgust as Jaze Kabia missed an absolute sitter, smashing against the base of the post despite having an empty net to aim at after Pittman’s clever flick from Nicky Devlin’s cross took McLaughlin out of the equation.

Kabia slotted another big chance wide and Livi were made to regret those missed opportunities as Hagi made sure Gers’ search for a loss-free campaign lived on in the 83rd minute, stroking home from Cedric Itten’s cut-back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Notice: ob_end_flush(): failed to send buffer of zlib output compression (0) in /home/gqbzggmy/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 4979