Gers Defeat Livingston At Ibrox

GOALS for the returning Joe Aribo and a 300th career goal for Jermain Defoe gave the Gers their fourth 2-0 victory in a row.

Following wins at Parkhead last Saturday and away to Standard Liege in the Europa League in midweek, a Joe Aribo strike and Jermain Defoe’s 300th career goal secured the three points.

From the side which so memorably defeated Liege in midweek, in came Fil Helander, Calvin Bassey, Steven Davis, Joe Aribo and Jermain Defoe to replace Leon Balogun, Borna Barisic, Glen Kamara, Scott Arfield and Alfredo Morelos – again highlighting the incredible strength-in-depth available to the manager.

Rangers began well, and after taking almost total ownership of the ball, grabbed the lead with just nine minutes showing on the clock.

Ianis Hagi profited from Efe Ambrose dallying on the ball at the back to put Jermain Defoe in.

Goalkeeper Max Stryjek did superbly to block from the striker, but the ball dropped again for Hagi.

He had so much to do, but he picked out a wonderful ball to the back post for the waiting Joe Aribo on his starting return from injury to net his second of the season from close range.

It was brilliant for Rangers, and six minutes later it got even better – and had Kemar Roofe not done what he did in midweek, we’d probably be talking about ‘Goal of the Season’ so far.

Skipper James Tavernier played a long, searching ball out of defence which beautifully arced over the Livi defence.

It dropped onto the foot of the sprinting Jermain Defoe 15-yards from goal, and without the need for any further touches he sensationally guided it beyond Stryjek and into the back of the net – and what a fitting way it was for him to grab his 300th career goal.

It was just incredible – but there was a warning at the other end soon after though that the game wasn’t done yet – Connor Goldson getting a touch on a cross which carried it onto the far post while Jay Emmanual-Thomas couldn’t finish beyond Allan McGregor.

Gers next attack ended with Ryan Jack testing Stryjek following some super interplay with Aribo, before Stryjek again denied Jack, this time as he let fly from 25-yards.

Into the second half, and again it was the Light Blues who had control of proceedings. James Tavernier was close to connecting to a dipping Ryan Kent ball at the back post.

Allan McGregor did well to get down and hold an Alan Forrest effort for Livi, while sub Cedric Itten had a header on a Tavernier ball held by Stryjek.

Late-on, Jack picked a super through ball for another sub in Jordan Jones to run onto, but Nicky Devlin made a super challenge on the Northern Ireland international to prevent him from testing Stryjek.

Stryjek then made a fine stop from Jones to deny him netting number three – and 2-0 is how it finished with Gers continuing their fine run of form and results.

RANGERS: McGregor, Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Bassey, Davis, Jack, Aribo (Arfield, 75) Hagi (Jones, 83), Kent (Itten, 75), Defoe (Roofe, 64).

SUBS: McLaughlin, Kamara, Morelos, Balogun, Barisic.

LIVINGSTON: Stryjek, Devlin, Brown, Bartley, Pittman, Emmanuel-Thomas (Poplatnik, 85), Sibbald (Forrest, 67), Serrano, Holt, Ambrose (Mullin, 45), Guthrie.

SUBS: Robinson, Pignatiello, Taylor-Sinclair, Lokotsch, Fitzwater, Lawson.