Livingston were unable to cause a major shock in their final home game of the season as they went down to a 3-0 defeat to champions Rangers.

The Lions' sturdy defensive efforts were undone on 42 minutes when Max Stryjek fouled Ianis Hagi inside the box with James Tavernier making no mistake from the spot.

Ryan Kent bundled home from close range just before the hour mark before Livi rattled the woodwork twice in their bid to get back into the match. Scott Pittman's effort from the edge of the box clattered the bar while Jaze Kabia somehow contrived to hit the outside of the post when staring at an open goal six yards out.

The game was put to bed on 83 minutes as Hagi latched onto Cedric Itten's ball back across goal to casually slot into the corner.

Despite the defeat, the Lions enter the final match of the season away to St Johnstone in a winner-takes-all clash for fifth spot. That would be good enough to qualify for Europe should Saints fall to Hibs in the Scottish Cup final.

Livingston boss David Martindale handed midfielder Djibril Diani his first start for the club, with Marvin Bartley dropping to the bench. Josh Mullin replacing Matej Poplatnik was the only other change from their defeat to Aberdeen last time out.

As was to be expected, the Gers controlled possession for large spells but it was Livi who created the game's first chance midway through the first half.

A long defensive clearance from Jon Guthrie led to Jay Emmanuel-Thomas getting the better of defender Jack Simpson before teeing up Josh Mullin on the left. The pass was a little too heavy and the winger's angled drive was comfortably saved by Jon McLaughlin.

Hagi would have Rangers' first shot on goal moments later, but saw his thunderous 25-yarder flash wide of Stryjek's right-hand post while Joe Aribo will feel he should have done better just after the half-hour mark when he headed wide from a Tavernier cross.

LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND - MAY 12: Rangers are awarded a penalty after Ianis Hagi is brought down by Max Stryjek during the Scottish Premiership match between Livingston and Rangers at the Tony Macaroni Arena on May 12, 2021, in Livingston, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

Rangers were struggling to break down the sturdy Livi defence but they were given the perfect opportunity to take the lead three minutes before the interval as Stryjek brought down Hagi inside the box. The Romanian raced onto Kemar Roofe's terrific through ball but was bundled over as his poked effort went wide.

Tavernier duly slammed the resulting spot-kick into the corner for his 19th goal of the season.

Having opened the scoring, the skipper was instrumental in Rangers' second 12 minutes into the second half as his pinpoint ball from just inside his own half found Kent beyond the Livi backline. He then teed up Alfredo Morelos on the right who duly fired back across goal for Kent to tap home and double his side's advantage from close range.

The Lions almost dragged themselves immediately back into the contest but Scott Pittman's fizzing half-volley from the edge of the box rattled back off the crossbar.

LIVINGSTON, SCOTLAND - MAY 12: Ryan Kent celebrates his goal to make it 2-0 during the Scottish Premiership match between Livingston and Rangers at the Tony Macaroni Arena on May 12, 2021, in Livingston, Scotland. (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

They would hit the woodwork again a few minutes later through Kabia when the young Irishman had the goal at his mercy. Nicky Devlin's dangerous cross from the right was flicked on by Pittman with Kabia looking set to roll the ball into an empty net from six yards out, only to hit the outside of the post.

Rangers put the game well and truly to bed seven minutes from time with a clinical passage of play resulted in sub Itten getting down the left flank before rolling the ball back across goal for the onrushing Hagi to side-foot home and complete the scoring.

Livingston: Stryjek; Devlin, Fitzwater (Ambrose 86), Guthrie, Longridge; Diani, Holt (Bartley 60); Mullin (Kabia 60), Pittman, Sibbald (McMillan 60); Emmanuel-Thomas (Poplatnik 74). Subs not used: Maley, Lithgow, Serrano, Forrest.

Rangers: McLaughlin; Tavernier, Goldson, Simpson, Aribo (King 86); Kamara, Davis, Hagi (Stewart 86) Morelos (Defeo 80), Roofe, (Itten 80 Kent (Wright 84). Subs not used: McGregor.

Goal: Tavernier (42 pen), Kent (57), Hagi (83).

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