Rangers 1-0 Livingston: Scott Arfield goals earns leaders nervy win

Substitute Scott Arfield broke the deadlock for Rangers late on
Substitute Scott Arfield broke the deadlock for Rangers late on

Rangers maintained their four-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership after Scott Arfield’s goal earned a nervy win over Livingston.

For 75 minutes at Ibrox, the champions looked set to drop points for the second game in a row and concede more ground to closest challengers Celtic.

But Arfield netted after coming off the bench and extended Rangers’ unbeaten run in all competitions to 21.

It was just Livingston’s second defeat in seven games.

And, although they remain ninth, both Dundee and bottom-club St Johnstone edged a point closer to them in the battle to avoid relegation.

It was a big night for 18-year-old Alex Lowry, given his first start for Rangers after scoring from the bench on his debut in the 4-0 Scottish Cup romp over Stirling Albion.

And the teenager impressed, being at the centre of everything Rangers threw at Livingston in the first half.

He had the champions’ first chance of the match as Fashion Sakala teed him up on the edge of the box, but he shot straight at goalkeeper Max Stryjek.

Then Lowry picked out Scott Wright, whose goalbound shot beat the goalkeeper, but not Jack Fitzwater who had raced back to clear off the line.

Twice the twinkled-toed Lowry collected the ball out wide and drove neat balls across the face of goal from both wings, but each time no-one in blue could take advantage.

Livingston were giving a good account of themselves. Fitzwater met a corner with a downward header, but Allan McGregor saved it on the line. The visiting players raced to the referee to appeal for handball, but Don Robertson ignored their claims.

And Stryjek had to pull off a fantastic save at the other end to deny the home side when James Tavernier’s driven cross found Sakala at the front post, and the Polish goalkeeper got his legs to the ball to deflect it over the bar.

Sakala became the main man after the break as he took the game by the scruff of the neck, but he was struggling to add the end product to his play.

A good turn and shot led to an easy save for Stryjek, then a driving run forward was followed by a shot that was always rising over the bar.

But Arfield eased Ibrox nerves when he finally broke the deadlock. Borna Barisic exchanged passes with Sakala, and chipped a ball to the veteran midfielder, who hooked it over the defence and into the far corner.

Ayo Obileye had a late chance for Livingston but couldn’t connect with a looping ball into the box as Rangers held on.

Man of the match – Fashion Sakala

Fashion Sakala put in a hard-working shift for Rangers and was always looking to make something happen
The forward put in a hard-working shift for Rangers and was always looking to make something happen

What did we learn?

January is proving to be a tough month for Rangers, and after dropping points at Aberdeen they nearly squandered more against Livingston as they struggled to cut the visitors open.

But the performance of teenager Lowry will be one of the talking points among the support. The gifted midfielder went looking for the ball from the first whistle and was at the centre of much of their good play. He had a quieter second half but still showed flashes of what he could do.

Livingston will be frustrated not to have left with a point. A Fitzwater header apart they didn’t create too many chances, but the performances of Obileye and Stephane Omeonga in particular were positives.

What’s next?

Rangers are away to Ross County in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday (12:30 GMT), while Livingston are at Hibernian later that day (15:00).

Player of the match

StryjekMax Stryjek


  1. Squad number37Player nameArfield

  2. Squad number51Player nameLowry

  3. Squad number30Player nameSakala

  4. Squad number1Player nameMcGregor

  5. Squad number8Player nameJack

  6. Squad number31Player nameBarisic

  7. Squad number25Player nameRoofe

  8. Squad number2Player nameTavernier

  9. Squad number3Player nameBassey

  10. Squad number6Player nameGoldson

  11. Squad number19Player nameSands

  12. Squad number11Player nameItten

  13. Squad number23Player nameWright

  14. Squad number18Player nameKamara


  1. Squad number32Player nameStryjek

  2. Squad number22Player nameShinnie

  3. Squad number9Player nameAnderson

  4. Squad number3Player nameLongridge

  5. Squad number6Player nameObileye

  6. Squad number2Player nameDevlin

  7. Squad number14Player nameBailey

  8. Squad number8Player namePittman

  9. Squad number18Player nameHolt

  10. Squad number33Player nameOmeonga

  11. Squad number5Player nameFitzwater

  12. Squad number19Player nameNouble

  13. Squad number23Player nameChukwuemeka

  14. Squad number17Player nameForrest

  15. Squad number21Player nameMcMillan



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1McGregor
  • 2Tavernier
  • 6GoldsonBooked at 31mins
  • 3Bassey
  • 31Barisic
  • 19SandsSubstituted forArfieldat 59′minutes
  • 18Kamara
  • 23WrightSubstituted forJackat 76′minutes
  • 51Lowry
  • 30Sakala
  • 11IttenSubstituted forRoofeat 59′minutes


  • 4Lundstram
  • 8Jack
  • 15Simpson
  • 21Barker
  • 25Roofe
  • 33McLaughlin
  • 37Arfield
  • 42McCann
  • 43King


Formation 4-3-3

  • 32Stryjek
  • 2Devlin
  • 5Fitzwater
  • 6Obileye
  • 3LongridgeBooked at 62minsSubstituted forMcMillanat 76′minutes
  • 8Pittman
  • 18Holt
  • 33OmeongaBooked at 21mins
  • 14BaileySubstituted forChukwuemekaat 80′minutes
  • 9AndersonSubstituted forNoubleat 65′minutes
  • 22ShinnieSubstituted forForrestat 76′minutes


  • 7Jacobs
  • 11Montaño
  • 15Boyes
  • 16Lewis
  • 17Forrest
  • 19Nouble
  • 21McMillan
  • 23Chukwuemeka
  • 36Maley

Don Robertson


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