Steven Gerrard urges Rangers to make amends for shock Livingston defeat

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard.

Rangers will look to right the wrong of 30th September at Almondvale when Premiership action returns to Ibrox on Saturday afternoon following the International break.

That 0-1 defeat to Livingston was a hard one to take for not just Steven Gerrard but also for the massive following of the Light Blue legions who constituted 75% of the spectators who packed the West Lothian ground that day.

‘Livi’ were in the eyes of many strong candidates for a swift return to the Championship – but under Grant Holt the newly promoted side have defied the odds.

Currently lying seventh in the division with nineteen points from twelve games, they currently stand well clear of the relegation zone despite a hiccup in recent weeks that has seen just one point and no goals accumulated from their past three outings – although that solitary point was secured in their last fixture, a goalless home draw against Celtic.

Rangers will renew acquaintance with old friends in this encounter with former ‘Gers Liam Kelly in goal and Craig Halkett in central defence for Livingston. Halkett has been in outstanding form of late and is rated by some as the best centre-half currently playing in the Premiership. Indeed, his form has been such that many are advocating a return to Ibrox for the youngster.

Daniel Candeias returns following suspension as a result of his absurd red card issued against St. Mirren three weeks ago. Connor Goldson and Ryan Jack are available following illness and injury respectively – although it could well be that Northern Ireland international Gareth McAuley, so impressive against Motherwell two weeks ago, will feature in the starting line-up.

Both Borna Barisic and Ryan Kent are edging closer to fitness but are unlikely to feature this week whilst Graham Dorrans and Jamie Murphy remain long-term absentees. For Livingston, Dolly Menga – goal-scorer at the Tony Macaroni Arena against the Ibrox men – is himself suspended.

Gerrard was in no doubt about the threat posed by Holt’s men, with their threat from dead-ball situations a real concern for any team.

“Livingston will be difficult. They are missing a few players so we are not certain what their exact game plan will be. They beat us fair and square last time but from our point of view the frustration and hurt from that result should still be there,” he said.

“As the manager, I worry about Livingston in how they will set up tactically and what they will offer from set-pieces.”

There was more than a hint from the Ibrox boss that the Almondvale debacle remains – almost two months on – an open sore.

He said: “However - if I was a Rangers player - I would certainly remember the way they celebrated after the last match.”

Livingston have registered just a single win on their travels and will face a daunting prospect at Ibrox against a Light Blue eleven that overwhelmed Motherwell 7-1 in their last outing and who remain unbeaten on their own turf.

A near capacity Stadium will expect nothing less than another convincing win and all three points.