STEVEN GERRARD wouldn’t have needed to remind his players what to expect ahead of this Premiership clash. Rangers had to dig deep to win here earlier in the campaign, while Celtic were beaten just a few weeks ago.

It was to prove a straightforward afternoon for the Light Blues, though. Joe Aribo opened the scoring with a lovely finish just after the half hour mark and Alfredo Morelos clinched the win with his 22nd goal of the campaign just after the break.


Rangers’ form over the last handful of league games has been impressive, but ultimately not quite good enough to secure pole position in the title race. They are, however, within striking distance of Celtic after an intriguing few weeks of action.

The draw at Tynecastle last month has been Rangers’ only blip in this block of domestic fixtures and the way the Jambos were swept aside at Hampden last weekend was much more like it from Gerrard’s side.

The next tranche of games leading up to the New Year includes the Betfred Cup final and culminates in the derby at Parkhead. Time will tell what separates the Old Firm by then but there is little to choose between teams that continue to stake their claims this term.


The decisions to leave Aribo and Scott Arfield out of the two Europa League clashes with Porto were not easy ones for Gerrard to make. Given the results, he could feel vindicated by them, though.

But the most pleasing factor has been the way the pair have reacted when introduced from the bench or, as was the case here, given a starting jersey. Aribo was dangerous every time he was on the ball, while Arfield’s movement and energy summed up Rangers’ efforts.

“Of course they were disappointed but they have trained ever so well the last few days and come and done what you should do when left out of a team, which is contribute and show the manager he was probably wrong,” Gerrard said. “They were both heavily involved in the first goal. Good pass by Scott, great finish by Joe.”


Another game, another clean sheet. Having chopped and changed a bit at the start of the campaign, boss Gerrard could be moving closer to a first choice partnership at centre-back.

There has been a more settled look about the Gers defence in recent times and three members of it – keeper Allan McGregor and full-backs James Tavernier and Borna Barisic – are certain first picks. So, it seems, is Connor Goldson.

The other spot has been up for grabs at times but Helander has been an impressive performer when selected and he and Goldson deserved a shutout for their efforts here.

The physical threat of Lyndon Dykes was nullified and the pair looked comfortable on the ball and off it. On a positive afternoon, their respective showings were certainly pleasing.

“Dykes is a good player who gave us problems at home in the 3-1 game and in the last game when we won 1-0,” Gerrard said. “He is good in the air, good on the floor and physical. So, yeah, he has caused many problems but I thought my two centre halves today….

“We were talking about man of the match out there and I think a lot of my staff looked at the two centre halves because they were outstanding.”


The fallout from Rangers’ previous trip here lasted some time as Gerrard made his position clear following the nasty injury that Aribo suffered. The midfielder required 20 stitches in a head wound and Gerrard was unhappy at the level of protection his players were given by the officials on the night.

His call beforehand for referee Nick Walsh to do more in that regard was understandable but Holt took exception to the comments. Cue a war of words, or not quite.

Neither boss will lose any sleep over the episode and rightly so. Holt laughed it off post-match and Gerrard had other issues to focus on after a pleasing afternoon.

“I shook his hand before the game and shook it afterwards,” Gerrard said. “Look, it is not about me and Gary Holt. It is about how good Rangers were today. We came here, tough place to come, tough challenge. But we showed a different side to us today.

“We dug in when we had to, we competed when we had to, in the air and on the floor. At times we played some stunning football. That is all I am interested in right now. I am not interested in what people want to write and headlines about me and Gary Holt.”


Given how impressive Holt’s side were in their win over Celtic here a couple of weeks ago, this performance would have frustrated the Lions boss. Livingston were second best from start to finish and never looked like troubling Rangers.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying, but a lack of quality ultimately denied them a chance to record a famous Old Firm double as chances proved hard to come by. Holt had no complaints.

“I can't fault the effort and the energy levels and the commitment but we didn't hunt in packs,” Holt said. “We went in ones and twos and were passive in certain areas and that is disappointing. If you give a good side time to play then they will hurt you.”