Rangers run out of ideas as Livingston hit late equaliser

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The Independent Football

Livingston striker Colin McMenamin came off the bench to fire another nail into Rangers' coffin of a season.

Last year's treble winners knew that Celtic would be put on championship-clinching alert at Kilmarnock on Sunday if they slipped up at Almondvale, as they had done earlier in the season.

And the two points dropped last night by Rangers means that the title win that has been an inevitability for weeks is now imminent. The result also means Rangers have yet to confirm their place as runners-up in the Bank of Scotland Premier League as Hearts still have a slim mathematical chance of catching them.

Michael Mols had given Rangers a half-time lead but youngster McMenamin's equaliser with 10 minutes remaining had been reward for a second half that the home side had dominated.

The goal that Mols lashed home in the 24th minute was as good as he has scored all season in a campaign that has seen him net 12 times but also struggle for form, touch and, by his own admission, motivation.

The Dutchman swivelled acrobatically to fire past Roddy McKenzie after Steven Thompson had neatly headed down in the box. That had been only the second threat to the home side's goal, with McKenzie having made a comfortable catch after Thompson had tried to loft the ball over him from a tight angle.

David McNamee, Lee Makel, Jamie McAllister and Scott McLaughlin all came close before the break for Livingston but Rangers keeper Stefan Klos was rarely troubled.

The home side had to make a change just before the half hour mark when striker Derek Lilley limped off with McMenamin, who had scored against Celtic at the weekend in Livi's 3-1 Tennent's Scottish Cup semi-final loss, replacing him.

Shortly after the restart Ronald de Boer was only inches too high with a sweetly-struck free-kick but Livi should have equalised on 60 minutes when Makel swung in a cross for Marvin Andrews, who head wastefully over from six yards.

Substitute Jon Paul McGovern swung in a cross that Burton O'Brien headed just wide but the reprieve was short-lived when McMenamin converted Livi's next opportunity with aplomb. There was still time, though, for Mols to miss a great chance to win it for Rangers when he fired at McKenzie after a Gavin Rae shot had been deflected into his path.

Livingston: McKenzie, Rubio (McGovern 74), Andrews, Dorado, McNamee, Makel, O'Brien, McLaughlin (Brittain 74), McAllister, Lilley (McMenamin 29), Fernandez. Substitutes not used: Creer, Snowdon.

Rangers: Klos, Hutton, Frank de Boer, Khizanishvili, Ball, Ronald de Boer (Adam 88), Hughes, Rae, Vanoli (Burke 82), Mols, Thompson (Ross 90). Substitutes not used: McGregor, McCormack.

Referee: W Young.