RANGERS will face Hearts in the Betfred Cup semi-finals with Glen Kamara’s early goal the difference against Livingston tonight.
His strike after four minutes was the only goal of the game – but both sides went on to miss numerous chances in the 90. It’s Gers however who will head to Hampden in early November.
From the side which comprehensively defeated St Johnstone 4-0 in Perth on Sunday, Steven Gerrard named just two changes.
Out went Steven Davis in place of Glen Kamara, while Scott Arfield came in for Brandon Barker as the manager named a strong-looking side.
Gers began the game brightly, with Livi having to scramble a James Tavernier free-kick away within the opening 90 seconds, before, with four minutes showing on the clock, the visitors took a sensational lead.
Alfredo Morelos’ foray into the area, set up by a Scott Arfield, caused all sorts of trouble for Livi who tried to hoof the ball clear through Nicky Devlin, but his attempt reached only Glen Kamara.
From 20-yards, the midfielder came onto the ball and struck it superbly, though a huge deflection, off the unfortunate Devlin, took it beyond Matija Sarkic and into the back of the net for the Finn to open his account for the season.
A Morelos effort from fully 30-yards had Sarkic scrambling to his left soon after, while the goalkeeper then made a super stop from Arfield, tipping his goalbound effort from the edge of the box over the bar at the last possible moment.
Going the other way, Keeghan Jacobs passed-up a good chance for Livi, profiting from slack Gers defending to poke an effort wide from the edge of the area.
The half drew to a close without any further major goalmouth incidents, however Gers headed up the tunnel without Joe Aribo, the midfielder having suffered a horror head injury earlier in the match from a strong Ricki Lamie challenge. Steven Davis came on to replace the Nigeria-cap.
The second half began with Devlin, looking to atone for his earlier error, flashing an effort across Allan McGregor’s goal, while Arfield was denied by an excellent Jon Guthrie block at the other end.
Lyndon Dykes passed up a fine opportunity for Livi, traveling between the two Gers central-defenders to get a shot away, though it landed on the roof of the net fortunately for the visitors.
It was they who had began the half the stronger, but Gers could have wrapped it up on the break, with Sarkic doing well to hold onto a Sheyi Ojo effort following super work from Morelos to bring the ball way.
Ojo was then denied again by Sarkic after beating Lamie in a foot-race down the left before the winger missed a third opportunity, again racing away from Lamie prior to firing wide.
Aymen Souda struck a post for Livingston as they again came close, while Sarkic again denied Arfield, grabbing onto his poked effort on the end of an Ojo cross.
The Livi storm was tamed somewhat as the half progressed, and Gers held out to book their place at Hampden.
RANGERS: McGregor; Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic; Kamara (King, 72), Jack, Aribo (Davis, 22); Ojo, Morelos, Arfield.
SUBS NOT USED: Foderingham, Katic, Halliday, Stewart, Defoe.
BOOKED: Goldson, Kamara
LIVINGSTON: Sarkic, Devlin, Lamie, McMillan (Pepe, 84), Guthrie, Bartley (Lawson 78), Souda (Robinson,74), Jacobs, Lawless, Crawford, Dykes.
SUBS NOT USED: Stewart, Sibbald, Stobbs, Tiffoney.
BOOKED: Dykes, Souda, Lawless, Jacobs
REFEREE: Don Robertson