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Rangers vs. Livingston SPFL Championship 20/12/2014

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Rangers 2-0 Livingston


RANGERS returned to winning ways in the SPFL Championship with a 2-0 victory over Livingston at Ibrox Stadium.

After the hugely disappointing 2-0 defeat to Queen of the South at Palmerston eight days ago the Light Blues responded by picking up three valuable points in front of 28,053 fans.

Speaking in today's official matchday programme Fraser Aird admitted a win would be the perfect early Xmas present and it was the young winger who scored the opening goal with a fine strike on 10 minutes.

Rangers then had to wait patiently for a second but it eventually arrived in the 73rd minute and again Aird was involved.

The 19-year-old produced a great cross from the right wing and it was Simon Mensing who headed the ball beyond his own keeper to effectively end the game as a contest.

Ally McCoist made three changes to his starting eleven with Lee Wallace, Steven Smith and Nicky Clark returning to the side with Jon Daly, Bilel Mohsni and Dean Shiels dropping out.

And while the League One champions have played better than they did this afternoon there is no doubt they deserved their 14th league win of the campaign.

They made a positive start to the match and with just 31 seconds on the clock a Livi defender was close to heading the ball into his own net from Aird’s dangerous delivery.

Steve Simonsen was then called into the action at the other end of the pitch. The big Englishman got down brilliantly at his near post to deny Danny Mullen and that early save proved important as Rangers got their noses in front.

A corner from the left was flicked on by Darren McGregor and Aird was there at the back post to drill a powerful shot through the crowded 18-yard box and beyond keeper Darren Jamieson.

The early goal was just what the doctor ordered on a cold winter’s day and McCoist remained his technical area to keep his players on their toes.

Aird was certainly looking lively and on 20 minutes he used his pace to dart in from the right flank and his powerful left foot drive was well held by Jamieson.

Nicky Clark then combined well with Kenny Miller but he could not produce a return pass to his strike partner with the Livi defence keeping it tight at the back.

With just one goal separating the sides towards the end of the first half the visitors were never out of it and on 39 minutes they had a great chance to get back on level terms.

A deep corner was headed back in by Kyle Jacobs and towering striker Jordan White failed to get enough power on his header from six yards to beat Simonsen.

Into the second half and Rangers continued to dictate the play with Ian Black seeing a lot of the ball.

A second goal was required though and when Miller tried to barge his way through the Livi backline on 53 minutes the ball found its way through to Clark but his shot was brilliantly blocked by Declan Gallagher.

As the hour mark approached the home support began to voice their frustration with their team working hard but unable to find a moment of real quality in the last third to kill the game.

Lee Wallace tried to supply it, the left back jinking inside to receive a pass from Stevie Smith but his shot flew high over the crossbar and into the Copland Stand.

On 67 minutes Richard Foster then clipped a pass into Clark in Livi’s 18-yard box. He played it into the path of Law but the midfielder shot wide with his left boot.

With plenty of firepower on the bench it was only a matter of time before the first switch was made and with 17 minutes remaining both Boyd and Templeton went on with Miller and Steven Smith making way.

Within 60 second the score was 2-0 although the crucial second goal came from an unlikely source in Livi defender Mensing.

Aird picked up the ball in front of the old East Enclosure and his whipped cross was glanced in by the visitor’s skipper with Jamieson caught in no man’s land behind him.

It was a moment of good fortune for the Gers but after the past couple of weeks the club was perhaps due a bit of luck.

In the latter stages of the game Shiels was introduced in place of Ian Black and while Livi kept going until the final whistle for their stand-in gaffer Mark Burchill they couldn’t find a way past Simonsen who made several fine stops throughout the 90 minutes.

RANGERS: Simonsen; Foster, McCulloch, McGregor, Wallace; Aird, Black (Shiels 81), Law, Smith (Templeton 73); Miller (Boyd 73), Clark
SUBS NOT USED: Robinson, Mohsni, Daly, Faure
GOALS: Aird 10, Mensing 73og

LIVINGSTON: Jamieson; Fordyce, Gallagher, Mensing, Rutherford; Keaghan Jacobs (McKenna 83), Kyle Jacobs, O’Brien, Glen (Hippolyte 73); White, Mullen (Praprotnik 83)
SUBS NOT USED: Grant, Sives, Ogleby, Beaumont

REF: William Collum
ATT: 28,053


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