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Livingston keeper pelted with snowballs as Rangers chalk up a regulation victory

Livingston v Rangers – cinch Premiership – Tony Macaroni Arena
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst enjoyed a second successive win since becoming Rangers manager as his side strengthened their position at the top of the cinch Premiership with a 3-1 triumph at Livingston.

Early goals from Scott Arfield and Joe Aribo set the league leaders on their way before Bruce Anderson pulled one back for the hosts.

The start of the second half was delayed when Rangers fans threw snowballs at home goalkeeper Max Stryjek.

The outcome remained in the balance until substitute Fashion Sakala headed in a late third to ensure another victory for Van Bronckhorst, whose reign began with a 2-0 Europa League success against Sparta Prague on Thursday.

There was one change to the Livingston team that drew 1-1 at St Mirren in their previous match as Alan Forrest took the place of Andrew Shinnie.

Van Bronckhorst made one tweak to the side that started against Sparta, with Arfield replacing Steven Davis in midfield.

Arfield made the breakthrough in the eighth minute when he ran on to a clipped angled pass over the top from James Tavernier and lobbed the exposed Stryjek from the edge of the box. The goal-scorer was booked for his celebrations in front of the visiting support.

Livingston attempted to hit back and Odin Bailey saw a powerful low effort from 20 yards outside the box parried by Allan McGregor two minutes later.

Rangers doubled their lead in the 16th minute when Aribo curled a left-footed effort over Stryjek and in off the underside of the bar from just inside the box after Alfredo Morelos had helped a Ryan Kent cutback into his path.

Livingston pulled one back on the half-hour mark when Anderson followed up to head in from 10 yards out after Forrest’s shot from the edge of the box rebounded up into the air following a save by McGregor.

The Rangers goalkeeper made an incredible save four minutes before the break to keep his team in front when he somehow pushed the ball up and over the bar after an inswinging cross from Bailey flicked off the head of Arfield and fell to Forrest just a couple of yards out at the far post.

The start of the second half was delayed for around 10 minutes as Rangers fans pelted Stryjek with snowballs and the snow had to be cleared from the artificial surface before the game could restart.

Rangers attacker Ianis Hagi went close twice early in the second half as he saw a powerful goalbound half-volley from inside the box blocked by Lions defender Tom Parkes before the Romanian had another strike brilliantly saved by Stryjek two minutes later.

The Polish goalkeeper made another good stop in the 58th minute when he pushed over an Aribo strike from the edge of the box.

However, Stryjek could probably have done better in the 83rd minute when Sakala got in front of him to head home Tavernier’s corner and seal the points for the champions.

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