Livingston 0 – 3 Rangers

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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.


Live SPFL


Saturday 15th May 12:00pm


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
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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
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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
Image:
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.



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








0:35

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.

What the managers said










3:43

Livingston boss David Martindale reflects on a 3-0 defeat at home to Rangers and believes his side gave the champions too much respect in the first-half.

Livingston manager David Martindale: “Jaze has hit the post – he’s in the right position – but he’s got to score in my opinion. If that goes in then it’s probably a different game.

“We made enough chances to score and change the dynamics of the game. But Rangers are on this unbeaten run and have this incredible number of clean sheets.”

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard: “I think the boys have got an opportunity not just to be champions but to leave a legacy from the season. People will remember this.

“They have got the clean sheet record now. Rangers have never hit 100 points plus which is a big motivation for us.

“Once the league was done on March 7, we obviously had the cup still left. Once we went out of that it was about re-setting and re-energising the small targets we could achieve as a team. We’re well on our way to doing that.










1:52

After victory at Livingston Steven Gerrard says Rangers are focussed on breaking more records this season heading into the final match of the season against Aberdeen.

“Tonight we get the clean sheet record and Saturday gives us the opportunity to go break 100 points, which will round off an incredible league campaign.

“You can totally understand the players being excited and looking forward to Saturday. Everyone connected to the club is.

“But we have 90 minutes of work to do. We will give the lads a recovery day on Thursday, no one will go out on the pitch. We are thin in certain places and don’t need a knock right now. They deserve a down day.

“Then on Friday we will have a lively session and get them rested, full of energy for Aberdeen. Our record at home has been ever so strong – we just need to go and do the final piece now.”

What’s next?

Livingston will travel to St Johnstone for the final Scottish Premiership game of the season on Saturday. Rangers will lift the Scottish Premiership trophy live on Sky Sports when they host Aberdeen at Ibrox. Both games will kick off at 12.30pm.





www.skysports.com 2021-05-12 20:30:00

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