Livingston 0-2 Rangers: Philippe Clement's side win again after VAR dominated contest

Dessers goal
Cyriel Dessers' scuffed finish sent Rangers on their way

Rangers cruised to a comfortable Scottish Premiership victory at Livingston to continue Philippe Clement's unbeaten start as manager.

Cyriel Dessers put the visitors 1-0 up after James Tavernier's penalty miss, but the Rangers captain did score from the spot in the second half to put the game to bed.

It could have been more for Rangers, who had two goals disallowed in a game dominated by VAR, but the result was never in doubt against a Livingston side that created precious little.

Clement's side move within five points of leaders Celtic, who host Aberdeen later on Sunday, while David Martindale's men stay bottom on goal difference.

Clement made four changes to the side that beat Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday, but it didn't seem to upset Rangers' rhythm or cohesion in West Lothian.

Connor Goldson tapped in after Shamal George failed to collect a Tavernier free-kick cleanly, but a VAR check saw the goal chalked off, with the offside Dessers judged to have affected the goalkeeper's line of sight.

Ross McCausland, making his first Rangers start, won his side a spot-kick after going down under the slightest of contacts from George. However, the usually reliable Tavernier put his penalty wide of the right-hand post.

Livingston may well have thought that justice had been served, but they found themselves behind less than three minutes later.

Tom Lawrence played Dessers in on goal with a delightful through ball and the Nigeria international's shot trundled slowly over the line having taken a nick off defender Sean Kelly.

The bright McCausland then thought he had his first Rangers goal after an excellent first-time finish found the top corner, but referee Steven McLean blew for a foul by Abdallah Sima in the build-up and the decision was upheld by VAR.

Livingston's only effort on target in the whole game came just before the break, as Cristian Montano's curling shot was easily held by Jack Butland.

The second half saw a drop-off in tempo with Rangers content to keep possession and bide their time, and after yet another VAR intervention they did double their lead.

Mikey Devlin handled as he looked to challenge for the ball in the air, and Tavernier dispatched the resulting penalty to atone for his earlier miss and wrap up all three points.

Player of the Match - Tom Lawrence

Tom Lawrence
The Welsh attacking midfielder showed superb vision to set up the opening goal and created five chances, more than any other player.

Clement and Rangers roll on as Livi woes continue - analysis

It's now four league wins from four for Clement as the Belgian manager continues to impress.

It would have been easy for his side to become frustrated in a game where they missed from the penalty spot and had two goals chalked off. Instead, they continued to play their football, picking Livingston apart and creating chances almost at will.

Clement spoke about wanting to get his whole squad up to speed before the hectic winter period, and there was a tick in the box for Lawrence who showed his creative qualities to set up the opening goal. Dessers getting on the scoresheet again can only help his confidence after a rough start to life in Glasgow.

For Livingston, games against Rangers won't define their season, but they were desperately poor.

Martindale spoke about needing to pose an attacking threat, but they only had nine touches in Rangers' box and registered just one shot on target. They have failed to score in their last four outings, have the second worst attacking record in the league and the joint-worst defensive record.

Martindale and Livingston have punched above their weight for so long, but something has to change quickly if they are to avoid a relegation battle this season.

What's next?

Livingston are away to St Mirren after the international break on 25 November (15:00), while Rangers are away to Aberdeen the following day (12:00).