Rangers booked their place in the League Cup Semi-Final with a convincing 4-0 win over Livingston.

Michael Beale’s men, under pressure following a drab showing at the weekend against Motherwell, offered more than they had done on Sunday to seal progression. Moving the ball at a better pace, controlling the game’s flow and putting on a generally better showing of entertainment. It was a performance Beale will welcome following the weekend, with three second-half goals.

Our writers break down the big talking points from tonight’s tie at Ibrox.

Comfort for Beale

Beale cut a flat, frustrated figure in the aftermath of the win over Motherwell on Sunday, and rightly so. It was a game that he, his players and the supporters endured rather than enjoyed and the search for positives was not a prolonged one. What a difference a couple of days can make. This wasn’t Rangers at their best, but it certainly wasn’t a contender for the worst of the lot this season and their place in the semi-finals was earned with the kind of controlled, comfortable performance that was expected and that was needed. Sima set Beale’s side on their way with a lovely strike from the left channel. Livingston will no doubt query why a foul wasn’t awarded when Jamie Brandon was pushed and the defender tumbled to the ground, but Sima played to the whistle and made the most of the opening he had created as Shamal George was beaten on the angle. The second goal was another example of an individual stepping up when Beale needed it. Yilmaz was direct and purposeful with his run from the middle of the pitch as the space opened up in front of him. He found the corner of the net with a poked effort to open his account for the club. That was job done for Rangers but there was still time to add a shine to the scoreline to round off the evening. Sima’s pace again caused Livingston problems down the left and Luiyi De-Lucas could do nothing as a low strike, or perhaps a cross, deflected off him and beyond George. The final word belonged to Jack. The move was neat from Rangers as James Tavernier’s cross was left by Scott Wright. Jack finished calmly from 12 yards.

Chris Jack


Ridvan Yilmaz’s renaissance

Ridvan’s Rangers career has never got going since arriving last summer, whether that be down to a lack of games, injuries or somewhere in between. Tonight was only his second start of the season and the 22-year-old impressed. He’s a more dynamic occupant of the left-sided channel compared to Borna Barisic, who is limited to admittedly excellent crossing but still one-dimensional in his attacking output all the same. Not only does Ridvan provide the option of carrying the ball, sitting on the last line to offer a threat in behind and generally giving the opposition a greater range of potential attacking threats to consider, but the left-back is more combiner than crosser. Although unable to count upon a final ball as lethal as Barisic’s, the pass he played for Abdallah Sima’s opener was a moment you couldn’t help but feel would arrive from the Croatian - receiving and pivoting quickly to punch a curved ball in behind the visiting defence. Ridvan’s spell at Ibrox has endured a few false dawns in regards to a run of matches. When a start against Aberdeen materialised around this time last year he pulled up with a hamstring injury and despite being touted as the first-choice option from those on the outside this summer, he’s been situated behind the Crotain and suffered injury issues again. In the two games that precede October’s international break, it seems clear he must play to see if his promise can be capitalised upon.

A stunning, individual goal to add a second was perfect vindication of that fact, those watching can only hope his substitution is only precautionary.

Joshua Barrie


Rangers better with more up top

With stormy clouds over Ibrox a potentially literal experience in the stands tonight, Rangers needed a first half that convinced by some measure and without hammering the visitors’ goal, any murmurs of dissatisfaction were limited before half time. David Martindale’s side scarcely broke into the opposition half and saw their relatively high line often broken by Sima’s strong runs down the left and Jose Cifuentes’ interchanging in behind with James Tavernier on the right. The hosts were in control without threatening to motor away but in the 15 minutes that followed half time that started to change. Suddenly the game was being played far less in the visitor’s half and the first’s control was absent. Cyriel Dessers had replaced Kemar Roofe and was struggling to make the same impact. Roofe had drifted deep to offer an extra pass in possession and route through the pitch, while Dessers’ moments when running at the defence were ultimately unfulfilled. It was Sima, the scorer of the first and third, who made the most sustained impact in the final third. By the end, as was the case when Livingston visited Ibrox earlier this season, the showing was convincing and scoreline comfortable. 


The on-loan forward’s touches were sharper, movement more dangerous and impact more sustained tonight than any other appearance so far and he provided an in-behind threat to the Rangers front line that’s been lacking at points this season. Expect the Senegalese attacker to remain in the team for the weekend’s visit of Aberdeen.

Joshua Barrie


A new plan out wide

Of all the issues experienced by Rangers in recent weeks, their lack of variation in the wide areas has been arguably most apparent. Their supposed switch to a back three at the weekend materialised into a back five, with neither Tavernier not Barisic forcing their opposite number back. Too often, an age-old problem that Beale’s side looked to be growing, rather than grown, out of at points last season in relying too heavily on crosses has resurfaced. On the left, as already covered above, the inclusion of Ridvan and strong performance of Sima offered the visiting defence more problems and provided Rangers with more options. Ridvan looked to play forward quickly and Sima’s first thought was to always stretch the defence. On the right Beale tried something different. Sam Lammers was often stationed wide on the right touchline with Tavernier narrower and Cifuentes running the channel. It meant that the home side had a more obvious one-v-one threat out wide in the Dutchman, who is capable of cutting inside and playing against the press with his left foot to find the powerful forward runs provided by two other players in his right-sided contingent. Ridvan’s goal perfectly epitomised the better usage of wide areas, summing up his variety of threats. Breaking down defences is tricky and the more methods you have to achieve that the better. Few would’ve expected the left-back to rampage through the pitch and score a much-needed second but that’s exactly what the young defender provided, motoring through the pitch to score and seal progression.

Joshua Barrie