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 Wednesday, 4 December, 2002, 21:53 GMT
Livi fightback gives Gers scare
Rangers' Shota Arveladze completes his hat-trick
Arveladze's hat-trick saw Rangers cruising to victory
Rangers 4-3 Livingston

Shota Arveladze grabbed a hat-trick but Rangers were pushed all the way for the three points as 10-man Livingston made a dramatic second-half fightback.

The Ibrox side looked to be cruising to a comfortable victory with two first-half goals from Arveladze and a superb Barry Ferguson free-kick.

Arveladze then appeared to put the home side on easy street when he grabbed his third in the 46th minute

But Rangers took their foot off the pedal to such an extent that a brace of strikes from Rolando Zarate either side of a thunderbolt from fellow replacement Barry Wilson put Livi back in a game that had looked beyond them.

Ferguson gave Rangers a deserved lead after only seven minutes.

Barry Ferguson (centre) opened the scoring
Rangers cruised into a three-goal lead
The midfielder curled a direct free-kick from the edge of the box round the Livi wall into Javier Sanchez Broto's bottom left hand corner.

And Shota Arveladze doubled the home side's advantage two minutes later.

Neil McCann sped down the left and his low cross was met by the swooping Georgian striker whose header looped over Broto into the net.

With already nothing to lose the visitors attempted some forays into the Rangers half and Eugene Dadi broke into the box before Craig Moore stepped in with a timely challenge.

Then, with just over 17 minutes gone, Arveladze grabbed his second and Rangers' third when he rose above the Livi defence to haed home Fernando Ricksen's corner.

Arveladze, Ronald de Boer and Michael Mols squandered a series of chances as Rangers threatened to run riot but Livi managed to reach the break without leaking any more goals.

However, it didn't take the Ibrox side long to get into their stride again at the start of the second-half and Arveladze notched up his hat-trick after 46 minutes.

Livi's Marvin Andrews races for the ball with Michael Mols
Livi staged a dramatic comeback
He stroked the ball home from 12 yards after Mols dummied Ronald de Boer's cross from the right.

But the visitors snatched a goal back four minutes later when Zarate struck an unstoppable 25-yard free-kick high past Stefan Klos.

And Rangers were given a fright after 71 minutes when Wilson reduced the lead to two.

His left-foot shot from inside the box soared past Klos after a series of one-touch passes had opened up the home defence.

Zarate's second goal three minutes from time set up a tense finale but Rangers held on to take all three points.

Rangers: Klos, Muscat, Moore, Amoruso, Numan (Ross 71), Ricksen, Ferguson (Nerlinger 64), McCann, de Boer (Lovenkrands 64), Mols, Arveladze.

Subs Not Used: McGregor, Hughes.

Livingston: Broto, Brinquin, Rubio, Andrews, Bollan, O'Brien (Quino 70), Makel, Toure-Maman, Camacho (Wilson 51), Dadi (Zarate 47), Bingham.

Subs Not Used: McEwan, Bahoken.

Sent Off: Bollan (75).

Booked: Bollan.

Attendance: 45,992

Referee: D McDonald

 BBC Sport's Roddy Forsyth
"Rangers fans were anxious"
Links to more Scot Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

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