SHAMAL GEORGE has revealed that Livingston had the game plan of getting a Rangers player sent off during their Scottish Premiership clash to help them gain an advantage in their season curtain raiser.

David Martindale’s side battled well after going ahead early through Joel Nouble, but a quickfire double from Rangers turned the game on its head.

Substitute Scott Arfield struck with a header before James Tavernier bent a free-kick past George in the Livingston goal just two minutes later in the second period.

It was an impressive debut in goals from the former Colchester United man, but he admitted disappointment at not taking anything away from the clash at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

“I thought we played well considering how good they are,” he said. “We know how organised they are and how well they play but it’s a tough one to take.

“The atmosphere, I have never experienced anything like it. It’s definitely one that I will remember. It would have been better if we had got a draw or a win but the team played very well. I’m just gutted for the boys.

“To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect but Rangers were unreal. They were a joke. I didn’t expect them to be that good. The gaffer said ‘you are going to be in for a shock when you see how good they are’ and I was.”

Nouble caused Rangers constant problems and at times both John Souttar and Connor Goldson were struggling to deal with the big striker.

George continued: “I thought we were solid in the first half. In the second half, we knew they were going to have chances because they were going to come at us.

“We just couldn’t keep them out. I’m gutted but we have to move on. I thought we played really well. We should be really proud of ourselves.

“I played with Joel Nouble’s brother, Frank, at Colchester last season. They are similar players. Joel’s a real handful. I thought he was class.

“[Three players got booked fouling him] and that was our gameplan, to try and get a player sent off. Given how good they are, we needed to give them a disadvantage as much as possible. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get a result.”

George was also full of praise for the 7,000-strong Rangers support who provided the best atmosphere the goalkeeper has ever witnessed.

He added: “It’s a crazy step up, one I’ll always remember. Rangers fans were a joke. Again, I’ve never experienced anything like that.

“It motivates me to do better when there are people behind the goal giving you stick. It’s something I’ll always remember.

“To come back and win 2-1, they are a very, very good team. They played Tottenham the other day and lost 2-1. They beat West Ham. I knew coming here, it wasn’t going to be easy, and it definitely wasn’t.

“We had plenty of chances. They had more but we had chances to get back in the game as well. It’s ifs, buts and maybes. It didn’t happen. We have to look to next week.

“This is the second time I have played on TV. To me, it’s massive, in front of a big audience. It’s a massive step in my career. When I came here, that was very important to me. I want to play as many games as I can and do as well as I can for the team.

“I have to repay the gaffer for the belief that he has shown in me and do the best I can in the time I’m here.”