A FABULOUS first-half four-goal salvo saw Rangers extend their winning run to four matches and open up a six-point lead at the top of the Championship.
Exactly a year on from the Light Blues’ match with Hearts being abandoned due to snow, the heavens opened once again with the white stuff falling throughout the game, but this time, the Ibrox pitch remained in excellent condition.
Pre-match as a tribute to the late David Bowie who died this week, the PA system blasted out his “Under Pressure” duet with Queen, and it may well have served to inspire the Light Blues as they immediately had Livingston heavily under the cosh.
A beautiful interchanging move on the left between the always impressive Lee Wallace and Barrie McKay saw the ball played across the face of goal, but unfortunately for the Gers, there were no takers before a James Tavernier free-kick was met by the head of Rob Kiernan at the back post, but with away defenders surrounding him, he headed wide.
There were just eight minutes on the clock however when the deserved breakthrough arrived for Mark Warburton’s men.
Nicky Law took a corner short to Kenny Miller, before the striker played it back to Law who had retreated 10 yards or-so backwards downfield. From there, Law burst into the box and found Martyn Waghorn on the penalty spot, and while his shot was blocked, the ball bobbled up and onto the head of Danny Wilson to nod home his first goal of his second spell with the club.
The falling snow was intensifying all the time, and that mirrored the home side’s play with Livi unable to catch a breath at times such was the constant barrage of attacks on their creaking defence.
Goalkeeper Marc McCallum was doing his level-best to keep Rangers at bay, and he had to look lively to deny Lee Wallace when he unleashed a curling effort from 25-yards in the direction of the top corner, and seconds later, he did well to gather another Tavernier free-kick that was whipped into the area.
He was, however, almost caught out by an audacious, Beckham-esque Waghorn effort from the halfway line after the striker had slid in to win the ball, although the goalkeeper managed to scamper back to clutch Waghorn’s first-time effort out of the air before it dropped over the line.
Jason Holt then sent Kenny Miller through on goal, but again McCallum was equal to the attack, coming out to meet Miller and win the ball on the edge of the area.
Veteran attacker Miller was coming more and more into the game, and after he played a great-one-two with Wallace to enter the area, he was crudely taken out of the game by Ben Gordon inside the area for a clear penalty kick.
Martyn Waghorn stepped up to take it and coolly slotted it to McCallum’s right to extend the lead to 2-0 and really open the floodgates for the afternoon.
Miller and Waghorn combined soon afterwards with McCallum just nipping in to take the ball of the toes of Waghorn, while shots from Wallace and Waghorn again followed before Miller made it 3-0.
Barrie McKay took a short corner into the path of Wallace who in-turn fed Miller on the middle of the 18-yard line to curl the ball into the bottom corner as Rangers really started to run riot.
McKay again was involved with a sensational piece of skill to get to the byline and cut a ball back for Waghorn but a combination of a crowd of Livi defenders and McCallum somehow prevented the ball crossing the line.
The Englishman was to make it 4-0 however just before half time. A Lee Wallace shot from the edge of the box was deflected up and into the path of Waghorn, and he adjusted well to volley the ball beyond the advancing McCallum.
Into the second half, and substitute Danny Mullen forced Wes Foderingham into a superb save low down to his left as a reminder that there were still two teams in the game.
Livi’s battered and bruised defence were then given a helping hand by Kenny Miller as he accidentally got in the way of a netbound Waghorn thunderbolt as the first-half story of one-way traffic looked to resume.
But the visitors put pay to that threat through another sub in Liam Buchanan found the net with a drilled 25-yard effort to hand Livingston some consolation for what had been a chastening afternoon to that point for them.
Indeed, it seemed to give them confidence to defend much tighter than they had done in the first half, thus preventing Rangers from creating anywhere near the same level of chances as they had in the first.
The best opportunity beyond the interval for the Light Blues came 10 minutes from time as McKay cut a ball along the six-yard line where sub Nicky Clark was stationed, but somehow he failed to convert.
That was until the final minute of normal time when Dean Shiels cut a ball back for Nicky Clark to finish, but incredibly, referee Craig Thomson pulled play back for a foul on Shiels and awarded a penalty instead of a goal.
Up stepped Andy Halliday to take, but McCallum denied him and the score remained at 4-1.
RANGERS: Foderingham, Tavernier, Wallace, Wilson, Kiernan, Holt (Shiels, 75), Halliday, Law (Zelalem, 67), McKay, Miller, Waghorn (Clark, 67).
SUBS NOT USED: Bell, Ball, Thompson, Forrester.
LIVINGSTON: McCallum, Morgyn, Gallagher, Gordon, Longridge, Gibbons (Buchanan, 45), Fotheringham, Pittman, Stanton, Glen (Mullen, 45), White.
SUBS NOT USED: Jamieson, Sheerin, Knox, Currie, Halkett.
REFEREE: Mr Craig Thomson