Rangers manager Michael Beale admitted his team “got away with one” after edging past Motherwell at Ibrox.

A 24th-minute goal from Cyriel Dessers proved enough to make it three wins and clean sheets in a row and send Rangers above their opponents into third place in the cinch Premiership.

But there were jeers at the final whistle and Beale made it clear to his players they needed to do better after scoring against the run of play and then hanging on in the final 15 minutes.

“From the first minute onwards I was unhappy with the team,” he said.

“The unforced errors with the ball are unacceptable for players playing here. That performance was a really poor one.

“It’s a good goal, something we worked on, trying to overload in the middle with the width. But outside of that, some of our play was so poor against a team in a good place, well organised, who executed their plan better than us. We constantly turned the ball over and left ourselves vulnerable.”

Rabbi Matondo went off with a knee injury after his shot led to the opener, and Beale responded by bringing on centre-back John Souttar to match Motherwell’s formation.

Beale said: “Losing Rabbi (Matondo) to injury – and it doesn’t look like a good one – didn’t help us because we had few players who could dribble with the ball.

“But actually the back three gave us some stability and some possession and some balance behind the ball. I thought those three played well and John Lundstram in front of them and Jack (Butland).

“But in terms of performance that’s well below what the players expect, I expect, the fans expect. We got away with one.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Motherwell, they played well and I’m sure Stuart (Kettlewell) will take a lot from the game, but that’s well below what I am looking for from my team. We had honest words.”

Beale was also missing Tom Lawrence, who will be out until the international break with a calf injury and did not want to throw Kemar Roofe and Abdallah Sima on until later in the game with Wednesday’s Viaplay Cup clash with Livingston in mind.

“We have a quarter-final on Wednesday and it would have been reckless putting those two out on the pitch with that in mind,” he said.

“We had to do certain things to get the result because we weren’t very good.”

Motherwell suffered their second 1-0 defeat in succession and their first loss on the road in the league since Kettlewell took charge in February.

But they created a series of late chances with substitute Oli Shaw forcing an excellent stop from Butland and Blair Spittal being denied by a goal-line clearance from James Tavernier.

A “frustrated” Kettlewell said: “I’ve been involved in a lot of teams that have played here but I can’t remember too many when we’ve been dominant in stages of games, when you’re carving out chances, pinning Rangers in.

“When you look at Rangers towards the end of the game – and this isn’t a criticism, I don’t want people taking it that way – but when their goalkeeper gets booked for wasting time and they are trying to take the ball into the corner, I’ve not really seen that much here.

“That speaks volumes for our performance, but I hold my hands up yet again, we have created chances and we’ve not capitalised on it.

“That’s two weeks now where I believe we’ve not got what we’ve deserved.”

Relieved Aberdeen boss Barry Robson believes his side finally got the reward they deserved for their hard work after picking up a first cinch Premiership victory of the season against Ross County – but insisted they will not get carried away with the win.

The Dons got their league campaign up and running in some style with a Bojan Miovski double and goals from Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes and Jamie McGrath giving them a convincing 4-0 victory, although one which perhaps flattered the hosts.

However, it is the result that mattered most to Robson ahead of the sides meeting again, this time on Viaplay Cup duty, in midweek.

The Dons boss, whose side had lost their previous four matches including a 2-1 Europa Conference League defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday, said: “I think we performed to a really high level. We looked really quick and aggressive at times, and scored goals at the right times.

“We’ve performed the way we want to perform and that was the pleasing thing today. We’ve played really well in a few games and with the European thing, I think we’ve learned how to deal with that.

“It’s hard to fight on all fronts, and that’s what we’re doing at the moment. We’ve got to stay in touch in the league, and we’re looking to stay in the Viaplay Cup, and compete in Europe.

“We won’t get carried away – lets just get our heads down and go and perform.”

Aberdeen were forced into an early change when James McGarry went off injured to be replaced by Jonny Hayes, who then also needed lengthy treatment after a late challenge from James Brown, but the hosts took the lead in the 22nd minute through Miovski.

Duk then doubled the advantage just before half-time and the Dons quickly killed off any County hopes of a second-half fightback when they netted twice in the opening seven minutes after the restart through McGrath and Miovski.

County boss Malky Mackay was clearly disappointed with the outcome, pointing to individual errors making his side authors of their own demise.

He said: “I thought we actually started the first 15 minutes reasonably well. It seemed to be the injuries for Aberdeen that changed the momentum a wee bit.

“There’s no real blame attached to the first goal, but the first 20 minutes of the second half we didn’t do ourselves any justice and Aberdeen deserved everything they’ve got.

“It’s about us going back in tomorrow morning – there’s glaring mistakes for most of the goals. It’s a Viaplay Cup quarter-final on Wednesday with the reward of going to Hampden. If there’s any disappointment it’ll be dealt with tonight. Tomorrow we’ll debrief that, and then the focus switches to Wednesday.”

A first-half goal from Cyriel Dessers proved enough for Rangers to see off Motherwell 1-0 but the Steelmen did not relinquish their long unbeaten record on the road without a major fight.

Dessers netted against the run of play in the 24th minute when he diverted Rabbi Matondo’s strike past Liam Kelly.

Rangers had chances to extend their lead but there were several anxious moments for the Ibrox support in the latter stages as Oli Shaw and Blair Spittal in particular came close.

There was a smattering of boos from the Rangers fans after the final whistle blew on their 1-0 victory, which sent them above Motherwell into third place, six points behind leaders Celtic.

It was Motherwell’s first cinch Premiership defeat in nine away matches since Stuart Kettlewell took charge in February.

The win came at a cost for Rangers as Matondo went off injured in the first half after twice going down with no-one near him.

Rangers were also missing Tom Lawrence after the attacking midfielder was sent for a scan on the problem that forced him off during Thursday’s Europa League win over Real Betis, joining Danilo, Nico Raskin, Todd Cantwell and Kieron Dowell on the sidelines.

Lawrence’s absence paved the way for Scott Wright to make his first start under Beale while Sam Lammers and Dessers returned.

Motherwell made the brighter start and they had several half-chances to take the lead. Harry Paton and Callum Slattery both curled just wide and Brodie Spencer forced Jack Butland to make a diving save at his near post.

There was another scare for the home team when Lammers diverted a Motherwell free-kick into his own goalmouth but Connor Goldson beat Bevis Mugabi to the ball to head over for a corner.

Rangers scored from their first real effort at goal. Matondo got a chance to shoot from 20 yards and Dessers diverted the ball over Liam Kelly’s dive for his third Rangers goal.

Lammers soon had a shot before Matondo eventually went off. The winger was replaced by centre-back John Souttar as Beale matched up with Motherwell’s formation. Abdallah Sima and Kemar Roofe were more natural replacements on the bench but both had been rested after their exertions in midweek.

Motherwell had a penalty claim in stoppage time when James Tavernier held off Spencer as the wing-back tried to reach Theo Bair’s flick-on but referee Alan Muir played on and there was no delay when the ball went out of play.

Lammers had several chances either side of the break, twice forcing Kelly into saves and volleying wide from Tavernier’s cross.

Spencer was frustrated by another decision from Muir after being penalised as he outmuscled Tavernier to reach a through ball that put him bearing down on Butland.

Kelly denied Dessers and then Lammers as Rangers broke but Motherwell came back into the game after Shaw joined Bair up front. The pair combined for an excellent chance but Butland saved well from the substitute.

Beale handed 16-year-old Bailey Rice, a former Motherwell academy player, his home debut in the 78th minute in a midfield role.

Motherwell came even closer when Spittal played a one-two with Slattery and beat Butland only for Tavernier to clear off the line.

Motherwell had more chances. Shaw’s volley was charged down and Goldson cleared off the line from Spittal, although the flag went up afterwards, and substitute Conor Wilkinson forced two saves.

Aberdeen finally kicked into life in the cinch Premiership as they brushed aside Ross County 4-0 to claim their first league win of the season.

Bojan Miovski scored twice with Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes and Jamie McGrath also on the scoresheet as the Dons bounced back from four successive defeats in all competitions.

The Dons showed three changes from their impressive but ultimately losing Europa Conference League performance against Eintracht Frankfurt, but one of the players stepping in, James McGarry, was forced off through injury after just six minutes.

His replacement, Jonny Hayes, required treatment himself after a late challenge from County’s James Brown, but was eventually able to continue. For his part, Brown was perhaps lucky to be shown only a yellow card.

Once the game had settled down, Aberdeen found themselves in front.

Connor Barron’s corner from the right was turned towards goal by Richard Jensen’s bicycle kick, and Miovski was on hand to apply the finishing touch from close range. 

The visitors responded strongly with Kelle Roos turning a Brown drive round the post, before Jordan White’s header from a Yan Dhanda corner clipped the post. 

But the Dons should have extended their lead twice in the space of a minute as Duk’s strong run down the right got them into the area but neither Miovski nor McGrath could get a shot away. 
However, they did double their lead in the 42nd minute in a move that was started and finished by Duk.

He played out from the back after a corner, and while Hayes and Graeme Shinnie carried the ball almost the length of the pitch, it was Duk who raced into the area to apply the, somewhat scrappy, finishing touch. 

The Dons picked up where they had left off in the second half and made it 3-0 in the 48th minute, as another move started in their own half saw Hayes switch the ball cross-field to Miovski, who unselfishly squared for McGrath to prod home his first Aberdeen goal. 

And a fourth goal soon arrived, Miovski biding his time to drill across Ross Laidlaw after Duk showed strength and ingenuity to set up the chance, holding off his man before a back-heel pass to his strike partner. 
A slew of substitutions would follow for both sides, which broke up the rhythm of the game, but allowed Aberdeen to rest some of those who had worked so hard in Germany in midweek. And while they allowed County more possession thereafter, the Dons were comfortable for the most part. 

There was a moment of concern for the hosts with 10 minutes to go when Josh Sims flashed an angled drive over the crossbar, but the Dons held firm for a confidence-boosting victory ahead of facing the same opposition in the Viaplay Cup in midweek. 

Alistair Johnston hailed team-mate Daizen Maeda as a “machine” after the Celtic forward capped a fine performance against Livingston with his side’s third goal.

Brendan Rodgers’ men were ahead through a Reo Hatate penalty when Joe Hart was sent off for a foul on Mo Sangare.

However, Celtic extended their advantage through Matt O’Riley before claiming a third from Maeda in stoppage time.

Johnston hailed the Japanese international as an inspiration for his tireless running.

The Celtic full-back said: “He’s a machine. That’s the simplest way to look at it.

“You look back at the Rangers match and he was just flying around the pitch for 90 minutes and it was the same in this match as well. He’s got an unbelievable engine.

“He’s a nightmare to play or train against. Just ask any of our full-backs who have to go up against him. He’s just constant.

“He’s like this every day, which makes it really difficult for us, although it’s good to train against a guy like that. You can never take a minute off.

“He really does count for two on that side as you think you bypass him with the ball and he’s doubling down, pressing the guy again.

“It’s amazing to watch from my side across the pitch as you know the guy doesn’t know what’s coming as all of a sudden Daizen is there again. He’s a joy to have in your team, he’s such a weapon.

“He just helps us out in so many ways; the attacking side we see the goal he scored in the 90th minute and then the defensive side as well. He’s really special to have.”

Livingston manager David Martindale praised Celtic’s performance and rubbished the notion that they have not been as good since Ange Postecoglou left the club.

“I watched them on Tuesday (in the Champions League against Feyenoord) and I thought they were fantastic in the press, trying to get the ball back,” he said.

“There have been a few things floating about ‘they are not the same’ or ‘they’ve not clicked’, but I think you saw a wee bit of a change with the Champions League and then today.

“I think they showed true character and true spirit when they went down to 10 men. But we shoot ourselves in the foot by giving away a really avoidable second goal. When I look at all three goals, they’re really avoidable.”

Tony Docherty insisted Josh Mulligan should never have been shown a straight red card in a pulsating cinch Premiership contest withvat Dens Park.

The game was locked at 1-1, after Amadou Bakayoko’s opener for the home side was cancelled out by a Daniel Armstrong penalty, when midfielder Mulligan was given his marching orders by referee David Munro for bringing down the Killie scorer.

After the break, it looked like Armstrong had secured the win for the visitors when he struck again late on but deep in stoppage time, home substitute Zak Rudden pounced to snatch a draw with Killie boss Derek McInnes also shown a red card.

Docherty was pleased with his team’s resilience to come from behind to snatch a point against his former long-time managerial partner’s team.

However, he was fuming over the Mulligan dismissal.

Docherty said: “I’m delighted with my team to come back from a game where you are 2-1 down, down to 10 men and nine minutes to go.

“I thought it was never a red card and I said that to the referee.

“Yes, it was a foul and a booking. It’s about consistency – if that’s the decision for that tackle then there should have been seven or eight red cards today.

“I thought we were harshly treated today but I don’t want to be talking about officials – I want to talk about my team and they showed resilience in absolute spades.”

Derek McInnes admitted he apologised to referee Munro after his “bizarre” red card at the end of the game.

The Killie boss was trying to get the ball back to his players but it had not gone out and the official dismissed him for entering the field of play without permission.

McInnes said: “I was convinced the ball was out and all I was trying to do was get the ball back to my player. I wasn’t trying to stop an attack, I wasn’t trying to be clever.

“The referee said he didn’t want to send me off but it is a technicality as I entered the field of play without permission.

“It was a bit bizarre, to be honest. I am convinced the ball was out but it spun back in. So I have apologised to the referee.”

While disappointed with the red card shown to him, McInnes was more frustrated that his team had not managed to see the game out against the 10 men of Dundee.

The manager added: “We said at half-time that it is not a given when teams go down to 10 men.

“We were just conscious of not giving up set-plays and for us to lose two set-plays, particularly the one at the death, is so disappointing.”

Manager Stephen Robinson was delighted with St Mirren’s performance as they extended their unbeaten start to the cinch Premiership season with a 1-0 win over Hearts.

Ryan Strain netted the only goal after seven minutes but St Mirren had three further goals ruled out over the course of an excellent display.

After recording back-to-back victories, the Buddies remain in second spot in the table – two points behind leaders Celtic and four ahead of Motherwell in third.

It took a fantastic stop by goalkeeper Zach Hemming to deny Lawrence Shankland in the final seconds of stoppage time and clinch victory but Robinson believes his team were well worth the three points.

He said: “We should have won by more, we had chances in the first half where I thought we were very dominant and we had three goals disallowed – that would suggest we deserved to win the game.

“Hearts are a very good side, they were always going to have spells in the game and they proved that.

“When we needed to be resolute we were and we defended very well as a team, the back five were excellent and Zach Hemming made a superb save.

“We made it harder than it should have been but I’m very, very pleased with the performance and the result.”

Despite having their celebrations cut short by having a goal disallowed on three occasions, the St Mirren boss was reluctant to point the finger at the officials.

Instead, Robinson felt it was a good indicator of the attacking threat posed by his team.

He added: “I’ve not seen them back, obviously if it’s offside then it’s offside – the lines don’t really lie do they?

“The other ones I’m miles away so it’s hard to make a call, it looks soft to me, but we are getting in those positions, creating those chances and scoring those goals.

“Make no mistake, Hearts are a very good side, they’ve got vast resources, very good players and a good manager – that’s a terrific result and performance for us.”

Robinson insists that despite extending their unbeaten start to six games nobody is getting carried away – though he does hope the supporters are daring to dream.

“My job is to live in the real world, we’ve started well and that’s all it is,” Robinson said.

“I’ll let the fans enjoy it, let them dream and I’ll keep within the realism.”

Hearts boss Steven Naismith was frustrated as his side continue to struggle away from home.

The Jambos have won just one of six away fixtures under Naismith and they found themselves behind early on after a defensive mix-up allowed Strain to blast home the only goal.

“The biggest thing is frustration, we give up a very cheap goal and then we have three good chances that we’ve got to score – that’s ultimately what has defined the game,” he said.

“The game played out very much like we expected it to play out, in both boxes we’ve given ourselves an uphill challenge by losing an early goal and we weren’t clinical enough in the final third which has cost us.

“It’s disappointing, there’s no one person you can pick out because at times everybody has made a mistake.”

Hibernian head coach Nick Montgomery was thrilled to get off to a winning start in his home dugout debut as his team overcame St Johnstone 2-0 at Easter Road.

Goals either side of the break from Lewis Miller and Dylan Vente sealed a well deserved victory and lifted the Leith side into sixth in the cinch Premiership.

It was also a memorable day for Rory Whitaker as the Hibs right back became the club’s youngest player at 16 years and 44 days when he climbed off the bench in the second half.

Montgomery said: “The fans were amazing, they gave me a really good reception before the game.

“And the energy they created in the second half resulted in a lot of opportunities.

“We know the pace we have up front and teams are going to come and work hard against us and that’s what happened.

“But as the game got stretched we created a lot of opportunities on the counter attack.”

Montgomery insists Whittaker’s breakthrough illustrates that age will not be a barrier to first-team opportunities under his watch.

He added: “Today was an opportunity to show there’s a pathway into the first team and Rory more than deserved his chance.

“I saw him play against Rangers last week and was very impressed with him.

“And when he trained with the first team his attitude was spot on.

“He’s a local boy, he’s been in the academy a long time and there is no better feeling than giving a young lad like him his debut.”

Hibs created several half chances in the first half before Miller headed in a Joe Newell cross at the back post.

After Elie Youan wasted another good opportunity, Vente doubled Hibs’ lead with a finish from close range after being teed up by Adam Le Fondre.

St Johnstone remain rooted to the bottom of the Premiership and manager Steven MacLean was not happy with his team’s defending for both goals.

He said: “The goals we are conceding just now are poor. The first Hibs goal comes from a second phase set-play and someone just doesn’t do their job at the back post so it’s poor from us.

“We were well in the game, we were frustrating them and we could have done better. We had a lot of opportunities in the transition and it was just the final pass, that final ball or the final run which cost us.

“The second goal was also a very poor goal to lose as we had bodies around about it but we didn’t have enough pressure on the ball and they played a ball around the corner and we got done.”

Dundee salvaged a dramatic late draw in a fiery cinch Premiership game at Dens Park.

The hosts took the lead in the first half through Amadou Bakayoko before Daniel Armstrong equalised for Killie, with Dundee midfielder Josh Mulligan sent off before the break.

It looked like Armstrong had secured the win for the visitors when he struck again late on but deep in stoppage time, home substitute Zak Rudden pounced to snatch a draw with Killie boss Derek McInnes also shown a red.

Killie could and should have opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Armstrong perfectly teed up skipper Kyle Vassell but the striker completely fluffed his lines, slicing his shot wide with the goal at his mercy.

Instead, it was the Dark Blues who broke the deadlock just three minutes later. On-loan Liverpool full-back Owen Beck swung a corner in from the left with Joe Shaughnessy nodding the ball on for Bakayoko to fire home at the back post.

However, Killie equalised on the half-hour mark from the spot. The ball appeared to hit Bakayoko inside the Dundee box and after a VAR handball check, referee David Munro reviewed the incident on the pitch-side monitor and awarded a penalty.

Armstrong stepped up to take it and although home keeper Trevor Carson dived the right way, he was unable to prevent the ball hitting the back of the net.

The game then threatened to boil over, with Mulligan shown a straight red card after bringing down Armstrong on the touchline.

Again, VAR Euan Anderson asked Munro to review the incident but the referee stuck by his original decision with a disconsolate Mulligan heading down the tunnel.

Then deep in first-half stoppage time, Kennedy came agonisingly close to giving Killie the lead, hitting the post with a header back across goal.

The visitors struggled to capitalise on their one-man advantage after the break with dogged Dundee digging in to protect Carson’s goal.

Chances for both sides were few and far between although Vassell had a sight at goal but his shot flew into the side netting.

However, Dundee’s resistance was finally broken in the 81st minute when Killie sub Andrew Dallas sent a low cross in from the left all the way to Armstrong, who drilled the ball home at the back post.

That seemed to be that but Dundee had the final say in the 94th minute after a Beck corner was headed down by Ricki Lamie for Rudden to gleefully fire into the back of the net, with McInnes then seeing red after coming out of his technical area.

St Mirren continued their sensational start to the cinch Premiership season with a 1-0 victory over Hearts at the SMISA Stadium.

Ryan Strain netted the only goal after seven minutes but the Buddies had three further goals ruled out over the course of an impressive display.

After continuing their unbeaten opening to the campaign, Stephen Robinson’s side remain in second place, just two points behind Celtic and four clear of Motherwell who occupy third.

A disappointing defeat for Hearts means they drop to sixth in the table, trailing rivals Hibernian on goal difference.

The hosts opened the scoring with the first meaningful attack of the match. Greg Tanser’s cross caught out Zander Clark and Strain was well-placed to slam the ball into the net.

Hearts were struggling to get going but they almost levelled after some good link-up play between Liam Boyce and Nathaniel Atkinson led to Liam Boyce getting a shot away just inside the box, though he would see his effort blocked by Alex Gogic.

Olutoyosi Olusanya passed up a glorious opportunity to double Saints’ lead when he burst clear on goal, his initial effort being blocked by the legs of Clark and when Greg Kiltie’s shot was cleared off the line the ball dropped to Olusanya, who somehow failed to turn home from inches out.

Kiltie had the ball in the net just after the half-hour mark but his joy would be short-lived as referee Nick Walsh penalised Gogic for a high boot in the lead up.

The visitors were dealt a further blow on the stroke of half-time as Atkinson was carried off on a stretcher, forcing boss Steven Naismith to replace the Aussie defender with Toby Sibbick.

Gogic headed over from Conor McMenamin’s corner as St Mirren threatened early in the second half while at the other end Cammy Devlin sliced a shot wide of the target.

Kye Rowles came agonisingly close to levelling after 59 minutes when he rose to head Stephen Kingsley’s corner past Zach Hemming but he was denied by a superb goalline clearance.

Mikael Mandron came off the bench on the hour mark and almost made an immediate impact after robbing Frankie Kent and drilling beyond Clark, though the referee adjudged the striker to have fouled the Hearts defender.

It took a wonderful stop by Hemming to prevent Devlin from netting an equaliser with 15 minutes remaining and Alan Forrest then angled a shot wide of the post.

Alex Grieve looked to have put the game beyond doubt when he headed home after 85 minutes but, following a lengthy VAR check, the goal was disallowed for offside – the third time celebrations for Saints were cut short.

Six minutes of added time offered some hope for the large travelling support, many of whom had returned to their seats following the decision to disallow Grieve’s goal, and they came very close to claiming a share of the spoils in the final seconds.

Lawrence Shankland pounced on a slip by Gogic to find himself bearing down on goal and it took a superb point-blank stop from Hemming to clinch the victory for the hosts.

Hibernian head coach Nick Montgomery marked his home debut with a win as goals from Lewis Miller and Dylan Vente saw off St Johnstone 2-0.

Miller headed in from close range in a tight first half before Vente made Hibs pressure count after the break with a finish from inside the box.

The win, the first of Montgomery’s reign, lifted Hibs above city rivals Hearts into sixth in the cinch Premiership ahead of Wednesday’s Viaplay Cup quarter-final visit of St Mirren.

It was also a day to remember for Rory Whittaker after the Hibs forward climbed off the bench to become the club’s youngest player at only 16 years and 44 days.

Jair Tavares was handed his first start in 13 month for Hibs after being brought in from the cold by Montgomery.

And the Portuguese forward was part of a dynamic attacking four that caused Saints problems during the early stages.

A neat move saw Will Fish find Vente and the Dutchman’s square pass was struck just wide from a first-time shot by Martin Boyle.

Hibs kept coming and Adam Le Fondre had a comfortable header kept out by Dimitar Mitov from a cross stood up by Joe Newell.

Tavares then got involved in the action himself but a first-time drive from a Lewis Miller pass sailed wide.

Saints looked dangerous on the counter, especially with Hibs pushing their full-backs high, but they lacked the final pass.

Saints midfielder Cameron MacPherson shot wide from outside the area before team-mate Daniel Phillips then fired over from a good position inside the area.

But Hibs broke the deadlock 10 minutes before the break. Newell lifted a curling cross to the back post and Miller’s downward header back across goal beat Mitov.

Hibs should have doubled their lead in the 58th minute when Boyle, who raced on to Fish’s pass down the right flank, cut back for substitute Elie Youan but the Frenchman fired over from 12 yards with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Hibs goalkeeper David Marshall was then called into action at the other end to keep out an Andrew Considine effort at the back post from a Graham Carey corner.

But Hibs stepped up their intensity and finally put the game to bed in the 69th minute as Vente added a second.

After Mitov got down well to repel a low Youan effort, Le Fondre’s deft flick outside the area set up Vente and the forward buried a low shot past Mitov.

Hibs teenager Whittaker had a chance to mark his debut with a goal but Mitov denied the youngster.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers hailed a “monumental” victory as his team ran out 3-0 winners away to Livingston with 10 men.

A Reo Hatate penalty had the visitors ahead before Joe Hart was shown the first red card of his career for fouling Mo Sangare.

The setback, though, did not affect Celtic and second-half goals from Matt O’Riley and Daizen Maeda sealed a professional win.

Rodgers said: “It was a monumental win in terms of getting back in after playing with nine men during the week [in the Champions League against Feyenoord].

“Livingston is a notoriously hard place to come anyway, never mind with 10 men, so to play with that mentality was very good.

“Attitude and energy are what you need and that is what we had. You don’t get points here for style. You have to dig in and be resilient.

“I thought we played well on a difficult surface and stylistically I thought we played better on the surface with 10 men.

“We always have a plan for that in terms of how we work, how we keep the calmness. I thought the players were outstanding.

“We added to that with two really good goals in the second half. As I said to the guys, when you have Daizen Maeda, it is not like playing with 10 men.

“He does the running of two men, he is absolutely incredible and I was so happy for him that he got his goal. He was so good on the day for us.”

Livingston manager David Martindale felt his team had played better when Celtic had their full complement on the pitch and expressed his frustration at losing a second goal so early into the second half.

He said: “In all honesty, we were probably better 11 v 11. Then the second goal comes after only two minutes in the second half.

“And then momentum goes back in Celtic’s favour. In the second half after that second goal, I think Celtic were worth their money. I thought they worked a lot harder than us all over the park.

“Their application, their endeavour and their desire were probably a lot better than what we showed against 10 men. Sitting here, I’m hugely frustrated at the result, but I don’t think we deserved more from the game in all honesty.”

Reo Hatate’s penalty and second-half goals from Matt O’Riley and Daizen Maeda helped Celtic to a 3-0 win at Livingston despite losing Joe Hart to a first-half red card.

The former England goalkeeper fouled Mo Sangare just outside of the penalty box and was sent off by referee John Beaton.

That left Brendan Rodgers’ side to play the final hour with just 10 men but they never looked in any real danger as Livingston failed to take advantage of their numerical supremacy.

Their manager David Martindale had made two changes from the team that had drawn 1-1 with Ross County the previous weekend.

In came Sangare and Scott Pittman, replacing Mikey Devlin and Stephen Kelly.

There was only one change to the Celtic starting line-up from their Champions League loss to Feyenoord and it was a surprising one, James Forrest handed his first start since January as Luis Palma dropped out.

The first chance came for Celtic but Hatate’s low dribbler lacked the power to trouble Shamal George in the home goal.

Livingston replied with a fierce Bruce Anderson drive that Hart did well to parry, with Callum McGregor booting Pittman’s rebound effort off the line.

The opening goal, however, came at the other end after 13 minutes. Luiyi de Lucas needlessly brought down Hatate and Beaton immediately awarded the penalty.

Hatate chose to take it himself and his effort squeezed under George’s body to give Celtic the lead.

The goalkeeper was unfortunate there but proved his worth shortly after as he rushed out to block Maeda’s shot from close range.

The next piece of drama unfolded at the other. Sangare reached James Penrice’s ball ahead of Hart, the goalkeeper bringing him down clumsily on the edge of the box.

Beaton flashed a red card and VAR did not change the decision, reducing Celtic to 10 men for the remaining hour of the match. Forrest was sacrificed to allow Scott Bain to come on.

Penrice took the resultant free-kick but curled it into the side netting before Ayo Obileye had a dig from distance that Bain stopped well.

Livingston began the second half looking to capitalise on their extra man but instead found themselves further behind less than three minutes later.

Maeda failed to turn in Kyogo Furuhashi’s cross from close range but O’Riley helped him out by lashing in the rebound.

Joel Nouble then tried to lob Bain after a mistake by the substitute goalkeeper but his attempt drifted just over the crossbar as Livi failed to mount any kind of response.

Instead there was still time for Celtic to claim a third in injury time with Maeda finishing well from distance.

Greg Taylor relishes his role in being one of the main men in the Celtic dressing room but feels his new team-mates are starting to make a noise.

Taylor joined Celtic four years ago and has seen plenty of change with nine new signings arriving this summer alone, many of them a similar age to what he was when he arrived.

The 25-year-old said: “Probably because I am one of the longer servants at the club, I feel like I am one of the more vocal ones in the team.

“But everyone plays their part, whether they are vocal or leading by example. When we are on the pitch, everyone is out there giving their all for the club.

“I enjoy it, I am not shy in chatting. But neither are guys like Ali Johnston as I am sure you well know.

“We have a good group. It is a young group but a lot of guys are not shy in giving their opinions. We just all want the same thing, that’s for us to improve and continue to grow.

“Naturally I am loud but the more games you play, the more comfortable you feel and you grow in stature and people probably begin to respect your opinion a bit more. That happens.

“You have got guys like Cam (Carter-Vickers) who is more naturally quiet but the way he shows is in his performances.

“And we have boys who have come in and settled really well this year so I’m sure as time goes on they will begin to show their voice in the changing room as well.”

There has been much change in central defence this season with Carter-Vickers, Stephen Welsh, Maik Nawrocki and Nat Phillips all missing recent games through injury.

Liam Scales has emerged as a key player in recent weeks after stepping in from the cold following a season-long loan at Aberdeen and Taylor has been impressed with his impact.

“He has done really well and I think he did really well when he was on loan at Aberdeen,” Taylor said ahead of Saturday’s cinch Premiership clash at Livingston.

“We obviously didn’t get to play against him but any time I got to see any of the games I thought he equipped himself really well.

“He has taken that into this season. He has come with a new manager and tried to impress and when he has been given his opportunity, he has taken it.”

Celtic are looking to bounce back from a 2-0 Champions League defeat by Feyenoord after having Gustaf Lagerbielke and Odin Thiago Holm sent off and Taylor knows they will need to adapt in West Lothian.

“It is a big change of course but the one thing that this club demands is winning and that’s the exciting part, every game you have got to give the same focus, the same performance,” the former Kilmarnock defender said. “The fans expect that and demand that.

“It’s physically demanding in both ways. The Champions League is the elite so you are pushing your body to the very limit but then of course you play Saturday and maybe a change of style, Livingston will be quite physical. That’s another challenge, so it’s just something you have got to deal with.

“It’s been difficult games every time we have played there. Davie Martindale sets up his team really well, he knows what their strengths are and plays to it.

“We have got to be aware of that but also just focus on our own strengths and try to play our football.”

Borna Barisic revealed Rangers’ Europa League victory over Real Betis had helped raise the spirits of a demoralised dressing room.

Abdallah Sima’s second-half goal ensured Michael Beale’s men got off to a winning start in their group campaign and built on the league victory secured at St Johnstone the previous weekend.

Barisic admitted the mood had been somewhat darker after the derby defeat to Celtic prior to the international break but hoped success in Europe could provide a springboard for better times ahead.

The Croatian defender said: “These two wins are very big, very important. I felt like we were old Rangers I would say. We were in a good way.

“I am very happy, people are happy and the dressing room is happy. It’s a very big victory. We deserved the three points, a very huge three points. Betis are a very good team but we played a good game. The crowd was with us during the game. They gave us energy. It’s a very good start to the group.”

Asked what the mood in the Rangers squad had been like prior to this week, Barisic added: “We have not been happy. We have been very disappointed.

“We felt that we did not play well in some games. We lost the derby game and it was a hard two weeks to be here to train (after that). I wasn’t there but people said to me and I know what that feeling is like.

“Then we went to St Johnstone and won the game and now this game. So that’s why we feel much better now. But this is only one game. We need to continue like this, be positive and try to win all our games.”

Rangers welcome Motherwell to Ibrox on Sunday and Barisic acknowledged the need to keep building momentum.

He added: “This can be a turning point but it always depends on us. It’s an important win but it’s only one game. We just need to continue like this. There are games every three or four days so the schedule is very busy.

“It gives us confidence. This game shows we can compete with very good teams. Betis is a good team who finished sixth last season in the Spanish league and that shows they have quality. They came here as the most expensive team in our group – I cannot say the best – and we took the three points. So it’s the perfect start for the Europa League.”

Rabbi Matondo revealed it was Beale’s half-time team talk that had inspired Rangers’ stirring second-half performance after a flat opening period.

The forward said: “The manager got us going (at half-time). He wasn’t too pleased with certain aspects of our game and we had to up it in the second half and I felt that we did that. We had to dig in at times but ultimately I believe we deserved the win.”

The Welsh international conceded he should have given the team an early lead after he fastened on to Kemar Roofe’s long ball only to shoot straight at Betis goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

He added: “One hundred per cent I should have scored. I think I snatched at it a bit and on another day it would have been a goal. That’s something I’ll look at again and see what I could have done better at the time.”

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