Livi boss has cause for hope despite defeat as Ibrox

Nicky Law scored the third goal late on
Nicky Law scored the third goal late on
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Livingston boss Mark Burchill was able to take some positives despite seeing his side succumb to a 3-0 defeat at Ibrox on Saturday.

First-half efforts from Rangers captain Lee Wallace and Martyn Waghorn had the league leaders firmly in command at the break before substitute Nicky Law added a third ten minutes from time.

Livi’s latest defeat, their fifth of the campaign, keeps the club bottom of the table with just a solitary point from their opening six matches and two points adrift of ninth-placed Alloa.

However, the Almondvale outfit put up a resilient showing in Govan and restricted Mark Warburton’s men to very few clear-cut chances, Livi goalkeeper Darren Jamieson having a somewhat more comfortable afternoon than he might have anticipated.

That said, the home side’s ability to move the ball around with such pace and precision merely underlined the talent Warburton has at his disposal this season. In comparison, Burchill has rebuilt his squad on one of the Championship’s smallest budgets.

“You’ve got to remember there is a massive gulf between Rangers and Livingston so to keep them to just five shots on target, I don’t think many teams will do that at Ibrox,” he said. “They’re a top, top team and going to win the league by a country mile.

“I think we got our tactics spot on. But let’s be honest, if you’re paying that sort of budget then that’s what you get. I thought we made it difficult for Rangers, we sat in and broke on them at times. A lot of our players did very well.

“In the second half we contained them as much as we could and it’s very difficult to do that when you’re playing against such good players. The players are bitterly disappointed to keep them to so few chances and still lose three goals.”

With a stern test expected from Alan Stubbs’ Hibs this weekend, Burchill appreciates his side must start picking up points soon.

“I have absolute no doubt whatsoever we will get ourselves out of this pretty soon,” he said. “It’s easy to say that because we’re bottom of the league with one point but I’m under no illusions. I think Rangers have had easier games this season that’s for sure.”.

Having fallen behind to Wallace’s blistering shot from 20 yards just after the quarter-hour mark, Livi were forced into a change ten minutes later when Craig Sives pulled up and was replaced by Morgyn Neill, Burchill later confirming the former Hearts defender had torn his hamstring.

The hosts had a couple of half-hearted shouts for a penalty when both Waghorn and Nathan Oduwa were upended but referee Greg Aitken deemed there had been no infringement on either player.

The visitors carved out their first effort on Wes Foderingham’s goal from Waghorn’s misplaced pass as Myles Hippolyte gathered possession just inside the Rangers half and threaded the ball through to Liam Buchanan, the striker taking one touch to control before unleashing a rasping shot that needed Foderingham to tip over his crossbar.

However, a sucker blow arrived five minutes prior to the interval for Livi when Barrie McKay and Oduwa combined to set up Waghorn, the Englishman managing to pivot away from his marker and lash the ball beyond Jamieson and into the far corner via the post.

But the second-half onslaught that so many inside Ibrox had envisaged failed to materialise as the Lions stood firm to the challenge.

Law did manage to add a third, though, as he collected a pass from fellow substitute Kenny Miller and shot high past Jamieson from 12 yards with 80 minutes played on the clock. Dean Shiels went close as the hosts went in search of a fourth late on before Hippolyte spun his marker and sent a shot that went just wide.

Rangers: Foderingham, Tavernier, Kiernan, Wilson, Wallace, Zelalem (Shiels 74), Oduwa, Halliday, McKay (Miller 64), Holt (Law 64), Waghorn. Subs: Kelly, Ball, Aird, Shiels, Hardie.

Livingston: Jamieson, Millen, Sives (Neill 27), Gallagher, Longridge, Cole, Glen, Faria, Pittman (Gibbons 90), Hippolyte, Buchanan (Mullen 70). Subs: Gould, White, Georgiev, Sheerin.

Referee: Greg Aitken.

Attendance: 44,832