Livi boost confidence for play-offs with win over Rangers

Livingston's Craig Halkett, centre, celebrates after scoring
Livingston's Craig Halkett, centre, celebrates after scoring
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Livingston gave themselves the perfect confidence boost ahead of next week’s relegation play-offs with a 1-0 victory over champions Rangers at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

Former Ibrox defender Craig Halkett headed the game’s only goal to condemn Mark Warburton’s side to just their fifth defeat of the season.

With the home side already consigned to the relegation play-offs, manager David Hopkin made three changes to his starting line-up from the weekend’s 3-1 defeat at Queen of the South – Mark Fotheringham, Charlie Telfer and Liam Buchanan all making way for Josh Mullin, Danny Mullen and 16-year-old Matthew Knox.

For all Rangers’ possession in the opening 20 minutes, the Glasgow outfit failed to test Marc McCallum in the Livi goal.

Livi found their feet midway through the first half and Mullen should have put them in front when he latched onto Sam Stanton’s through ball but could only drag his shot wide of Wes Foderingham’s far post.

Stanton miscued an effort wide before Livi’s pressure paid off on the stroke of half-time. A needless foul from Hearts loanee Billy King on the left touchline gave Knox the opportunity to deliver and deliver he did as his cross into the six-yard box was met by Halkett, who powered a header past Foderingham. It was the player’s first goal for the club since joining in January.

The visiting supporters grew increasingly frustrated over the course of the second half and substitute Buchanan should have added to their woes but he failed to convert Mullin’s excellent cross. Buchanan again brought out a fine stop from Foderingham just minutes later before Jason Holt registered Rangers’ only shot on target with ten minutes to spare.

A delighted Lions boss Hopkin said: “I don’t think anybody saw that coming. I think it was the youngest-ever Livingston team put out so from that I’m delighted. I’m really happy we’ve managed to hold on.”

Livingston: McCallum, Kakay, Halkett, Neill, Longridge, Mullin, Pittman, Knox (Sheerin 74), Stanton, Mullen (Currie 70), White (Buchanan 65). Subs: Jamieson, Telfer, Fotheringham.

Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Ball, Wilson, Wallace, Shiels (Holt 60), Zelalem (Law 71), Halliday, King (McKay 60), O’Halloran, Miller. Subs: McCrorie, Kiernan, Clark, Burt.