Jermain Defoe scored his 300th aim in membership soccer as Rangers moved six factors away from arch nemesis Celtic within the Scottish Premiership with a 2-Zero house victory over Livingston.
The 38-year-old produced a elegant end to place the hosts two forward after 16 minutes as Steven Gerrard’s aspect made the a lot of the alternative introduced by Aberdeen’s late equaliser in an exhilarating 3-Three draw with the Bhoys.
Defoe, whose first aim got here for West Ham 20 years in the past final month, shot first time along with his left foot to web his first league aim of the season.
Joe Aribo had earlier put Rangers in entrance and the victory was additional proof of each the elevated depth and focus of Rangers this season as they adopted up final weekend’s victory at Celtic Park.
Gerrard rotated his squad following Thursday’s Europa League win over Customary Liege, with Aribo and Defoe amongst 5 gamers coming in.
Filip Helander, Steven Davis and Calvin Bassey additionally began, the latter after approaching in Belgium for the injured Borna Barisic, who was on the bench at Ibrox.
Rangers have misplaced the following sport after two of their earlier three derby wins underneath Gerrard and shortly suffered a common collapse in type after the opposite. They usually got here out decided to make sure there can be no hangover.
Max Stryjek got here into the Livingston workforce for Rangers mortgage goalkeeper Robby McCrorie, with the Pole making his first league look since a goalless draw with Gerrard’s aspect in August.
That is still the one time Rangers have failed to attain this season however Stryjek was overwhelmed inside 9 minutes after slack play on the again from Livingston handed the hosts the initiative.
Ianis Hagi dispossessed Efe Ambrose and arrange Defoe, whose shot was stopped by the goalkeeper’s legs. However Hagi confirmed good consciousness to sq. to Aribo, who swept the ball into the empty web.
The second aim got here from James Tavernier’s correct ball excessive. Defoe received in between the Livi centre-backs and didn’t break stride as he met the ball because it dropped.
The guests got here shut halfway by means of the half when Gers defender Connor Goldson turned Julien Serrano’s low cross on to the submit. The rebound fell kindly for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas however the Livi striker couldn’t react shortly sufficient and the ball bounced off him and into Allan McGregor’s arms.
Rangers dictated play for the rest of the half and Ryan Jack pressured a few saves.
There have been indicators of encouragement for Livingston after the interval and McGregor stopped harmful balls throughout his goalmouth from Josh Mullin and Alan Forrest.
Gerrard made adjustments in a bid to rekindle his aspect’s spark with these launched together with Kemar Roofe, recent from his marvel aim in Liege.
There have been no extra heroics though one other substitute, Jordan Jones, pressured an honest stoppage-time save from Stryjek as Rangers noticed out the win and a 13th clear sheet this season.
They now have the possibility to go 9 factors clear at Kilmarnock subsequent Sunday, albeit Celtic may have two video games in hand.