Rangers boss Steven Gerrard warns players after league defeat to Livingston

Livingston's Dolly Menga (right) celebrates scoring their first goal against Rangers
Livingston's Dolly Menga (right) celebrates scoring their first goal against Rangers

Steven Gerrard has warned his Rangers side they can wave goodbye to their title hopes if they repeat their Livingston horror show.

The Ibrox boss admitted his side could have played all day and not found the net at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

Dolly Menga gave Gary Holt’s brave Lions a shock 1-0 win as Gerrard’s side slipped up away from home for the fourth time this season.

The result sees Gers slide down to sixth spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership and they now trail Craig Levein’s table-topping Hearts by eight points just seven games into the season.

The Tynecastle men visit Ibrox next Sunday and Gerrard has now issued a stark warning to his stuttering squad.

“Hearts was a must-win game whether we won, drew or lost today,” he said. “They are the team to chase right now, they have come out of the blocks flying.

“It is still early on in the season so we can recover from a result like this like we recovered from the Old Firm loss. But this can’t keep happening.

“When we come and play teams like Livingston we have to try and take maximum points, otherwise we won’t be in the title race.”

Rangers dominated possession but Livingston did much more with the ball they had.

Menga smashed home seven minutes before the interval and while Rangers huffed and puffed after the break, they played into the hosts’ hands with a string of misplaced passes which Lions defensive pair Craig Halkett and Alan Lithgow lapped up.

Gerrard added: “We’re very disappointed in terms of the result. That’s three big points dropped. We have to take responsibility for that.

“The performance was OK in terms of possession and we controlled a lot of the game.

“But we were nowhere near good enough in the final third. We could be playing for another 180 minutes and wouldn’t look like scoring.

“The players and ourselves have had a lot of praise thrown our way for scoring heavily and being creative and being ruthless. But today we saw none of that.

“So we have to take the criticism when we don’t perform.

“I’d like to give Livingston a lot of credit for the way they defended and they maybe deserve credit. But at the same time we didn’t deserve to score.

“In football, if you have a setback or a bump you have to react and I expect a reaction from the team, I expect a big reaction from certain individuals.”

Livi continue to be the surprise package of the campaign so far and only goal difference is keeping them from sitting in second spot.

But despite their unbeaten run under his charge, Holt is not getting carried away with his side’s stunning win.

“I’ll enjoy tonight like everyone else,” said the Livi boss, who has now guided his team to four wins and a draw from his five games in charge.

“But until we are mathematically safe, that’s when I’ll start looking at what else we could achieve. Make no bones about it, we were the favourites to go down.”