Rangers miss chance to move clear at top after goalless draw at Livingston

Rangers miss chance to move clear at top after goalless draw at Livingston

Rangers missed the chance to move clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership as they laboured to a 0-0 draw at Livingston. Steven Gerrard’s team were aiming for a seventh straight win against Livingston and open up a two-point lead over Hibernian, but lacked the imagination or quality needed to cut through Gary Holt’s stubborn side.

With Celtic inactive for the second game running following Boli Bolingoli’s Covid-19 breach, Rangers have opened up a six-point advantage over the Hoops and now lead the table on goal difference ahead of Hibernian. But Gerrard will view this is a slip-up after seeing their rivals drop points at Kilmarnock last week.

The Rangers line-up came up against what looked like a back seven at times and the solid yellow wall proved insurmountable during a drab first period. Rangers did have a penalty appeal after 13 minutes when a Ryan Kent shot stuck Jon Guthrie’s foot before ricocheting against the defender’s hand but referee Nick Walsh ruled the contact accidental. Gerrard’s team tried time and again to beat Livingston’s midfield squeeze with balls over the top, but to no avail.

Alfredo Morelos drove into the side-netting while a looping Scott Arfield header soared wide. Perhaps had Marvin Bartley been a few years younger he may have done better as he lumbered away from Filip Helander just before the break – but the 34-year-old had nothing left in the tank by the time he reached the box.

It took 54 minutes for the Light Blues to finally test Max Stryjek as Kent cut past Bartley and let fly but the keeper punched clear before Morelos drilled wide. Gerrard introduced Kemar Roofe and Brandon Barker but there was further frustration for the Rangers boss in the 68th minute when Borna Barisic’s corner broke in the six yard box, only for both Connor Goldson and Morelos to lash at fresh air.

Morelos’ last involvement was to waste another back-post header before he was replaced by Cedric Itten with 20 minutes left. Craig Sibbald almost snatched a winner from inside his own half with eight minutes remaining – but goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin scrambled back just in time. Stryjek’s part moments later was just as crucial as he palmed away a Barisic free-kick, sparking jubilant cheers from the Livingston bench.