Rangers have come from behind to beat Livingston in the Scottish Premiership’s opening game of 2022/23.
The Ibrox side travelled to West Lothian for the lunchtime kick-off in the first Saturday of the season and they were made to work for the three points by the hosts who spent 65 minutes of the game ahead.
But James Tavernier was again the hero as he scored a superb free-kick to clinch the 2-1 victory.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst named three debutants in his line-up with Antonio Colak, Tom Lawrence and Scotland international John Souttar all starting the game.
Rangers nearly got themselves in front in less than a minute when Tavernier flashed the ball across the face of the goal with the new season just 35 seconds old.
Former Colchester goalkeeper Shamal George, making his Livingston debut, managed to get a touch and force it wide.
But it was the home side who got the opener when Joel Nouble latched on to a long ball to perfectly lob the ball over Jon McGlaughlin and in to the net to make it 1-0 on the fifth minute.
It was the strikers first Livingston goal in his 23rd game for the club.
Three bookings were handed out in a competitive first half hour with Rangers having most of the possession and coming close to an equaliser when Goldson almost forced an own goal from Fitzwater who managed to clear the ball from close range.
Obileye then came close to doubling Livingston’s lead with a header that was well saved by McGlaughlin.
The second half started as the first one ended with Rangers pushing for an equaliser, but the first real chance fell to Livingston with Nouble left one on one with Goldson in the box but the big Englishman was unable to capitalise and a shot was fired over the bar.
Rangers had the ball in the net just over a minute later but Antonio Colak’s effort was ruled out for offside.
Chances kept coming for the visitors but the Livingston managed to keep them out with the help of the cross bar and a point blank save from George as he somehow managed to keep out a shot from Malik Tillman who was brought on for Scott Wright at half time.
The game remained level on the hour mark when the Ibrox side came close again when John Lundstram curled a short just past the post.
It was chance after chance for Rangers at this stage but they were unable to break down the yellow wall as Livingston defended for their lives to stay in front.
Van Bronckhorst made more changes with James Sands and Scott Arfield brought on for Glen Kamara and Souttar.
And it was Arfield who finally managed to get Rangers on level terms in his home town when he headed home a Ryan Kent cross with just under 20 minutes to go.
Then the captain stepped up, as he done so many times last season, to put them in front when he whipped a free-kick into the net to make it 2-1.
In Saturday’s other games St Johnstone will play Hibernian, Kilmarnock will host Dundee United and Ross County will travel to Tynecastle to play Hearts.
On Sunday St Mirren host Motherwell before champions Celtic begin the defence of their title at home to Aberdeen.
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