with Maurice Ross, Fernando Ricksen, Christian
Nerlinger and Michael Mols replacing Henning Berg,
Mikel Arteta, Hamed Namouchi and Bob Malcolm.
Long-term injury absentee Ronald De Boer made a
welcome reappearance on the bench.
The game kicked off in difficult conditions of
driving, icy rain that made the underfoot conditions
The Ibrox men almost struck inside the opening two
minutes when a Nerlinger corner, headed on by Craig
Moore, found Nuno Capucho inside the six-yard box, his
point-blank drive striking goalkeeper Roddy McKenzie
on the face.
The Livvie defence was struggling to cope with
Nerlinger’s inswinging corners – eight minutes later
Moore’s drive following one such kick was blocked on
The opening goal was delayed a mere sixty seconds
however – Peter Lovenkrands feeding Ricksen whose
drive rebounded off McKenzie’s legs into the path of
Nerlinger who coolly slotted the ball home.
Rangers retained the majority of possession as play
progressed, but a lack of movement up front allied to
a non-existent cutting edge meant that precious few
chances were created.
Indeed Stefan Klos had to look lively in 32 minutes to
deny Derek Lilley following a Lee Makel corner, diving
at his feet, and then five minutes later Stuart
Lovell’s twenty-yard drive from a David Fernandez
corner flew just wide.
Rangers finished the half on top however – McKenzie
turning Arveladze’s twenty-yard drive wide from a
Michael Mols lay-off.
The game exploded two minutes after the restart when
Lilley was guilty of a quite atrocious tackle from
behind on Moore. Incredibly Referee Iain Brines saw
nothing amiss, waving play on, but finally halting
play once Rangers had possession, a decision that went
down well with the 48,638 spectators.
David Fernandez – on loan from Celtic – was clean
through on a Lee Makel pass in 49 minutes only to curl
his effort wide of the target.
Five minutes later Lilley at last received a yellow
card for a foul on Paulo Vanoli.
Rangers had a stonewall penalty claim turned down on
the hour when Nuno Capucho had the legs taken away
from him by Emmanuel Dorado. To compound his error,
the referee, fully forty yards behind play then had
the temerity to book Capucho for “diving”.
To massive applause, Ronald De Boer replaced Michael
Mols sixty seconds later.
Another strong penalty claim was denied in 62 minutes
when Jamie McAllister handled Capucho’s shot from a
Rangers were in need of a second goal to secure the
points, and Arveladze came close to obliging in 64
minutes with a twenty-yard free-kick that landed on
the top of the net.
Livingston – taking heart from the narrowness of the
scoreline – were coming more and more into contention.
Substitute Fernando Pasquinelli saw his flick from a
Makel free-kick held by Klos in seventy minutes, and
then three minutes later the goalkeeper turned over a
twenty-five yard drive from Fernandez.
There was yet another blunder by Referee Brines in 77
minutes when Lilley – already yellow-carded – scythed
down Moore. Whilst a free-kick was awarded, the
official took no further action, and significantly
Lilley was substituted soon afterwards.
Sixty seconds later Pasquinelli was guilty of blatant
simulation, yet received no caution.
With time running out, the game was balanced on a
knife-edge, but De Boer almost clinched victory in 84
minutes with a 22-yard shot from a Ross pass that was
held by McKenzie.
Rangers were ragged in the closing minutes – Makel’s
twenty-five yard drive being held by Klos in 89
minutes, the twice in injury time Marvin Andrews,
playing up front, came close to an equaliser with
headers – the first from a Makel cross inches wide,
the second a free header from Makel’s corner also
The final whistle brought immense relief and
afterwards Alex McLeish commented:
“Livvie went for broke in the closing stages, with
Marvin Andrews causing havoc in our box. We showed
resilience to see the game through. Nuno Capucho was
desperately unlucky – it was a clear penalty, and
would have been anywhere else in Europe.”
RANGERS Klos; Ross, Moore, Khizanishvili, Vanoli (Ball
79); Ricksen, Arveladze, Nerlinger, Lovenkrands;
Capucho, Mols (De Boer 61)
UNUSED SUBS McGregor, Hutton, Namouchi
LIVINGSTON McKenzie; McNamee, Rubio, Andrews,
McAllister; Makel, O’Brien, Lovell (Pasquinelli 68),
Dorado; Fernandez, Lilley (Brittain 79)
UNUSED SUBS McLaughlin, Main, Guinovart
REFEREE Iain Brines