Gary Holt praises Livingston response after early Rangers goals put his side 'behind 8-ball'

Gary Holt felt his side losing two early goals put Livingston ‘behind the 8-ball’ against Rangers and made life difficult for themselves in defeat at Ibrox.

Livingston manager Gary Holt (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

However, the visiting boss was full of praise for the way his side responded after the early setback of conceding to Joe Aribo and a classy finish from Jermain Defoe.

Holt said: “I don’t think my keeper was under pressure a lot, I don’t think he was peppered but when you’re 2-0 down early in the game behind the 8-ball then it makes it very difficult.

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"We changed the system at half-time and Josh [Mullin] gave us more of an out-ball and threat going forward.

Jermain Defoe celebrates making it 2-0 (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

"We were on the front foot in the second half, more aggressive against our opposite numbers and got in their faces and made it more difficult.

“In the first half, give Rangers credit, they get in areas and pull you about but the two goals we lost are really soft for the defensive unit to look at. When we come to places like this you can’t give goals away like that – you have to make them work for it. And that is a disappointing thing for the team.

“I thought we had a lot of positives within the game, especially the second half.”

The visitors could have been just the third SPFL side to score against Steven Gerrard’s team just before half-time when a low cross struck defender Connor Goldson and hit the post before Allan McGregor recovered to save.

Holt though was not ruing the opportunity, more pleased at the reaction to the goals. He added: “I think it came off the post really quick and it just hit off him - nine times out of ten they go in. In the second half wee Alan [Forrest] has got in and he’s almost mishit it but that’s your opportunities. You don’t get many against these teams, so when you do you have to take them.

“The lads rolled up their sleeves. They could have felt sorry for themselves and come away with a 5-0 defeat but I spoke about belief and asked them to believe in themselves and each other before the game, and I think they did that in the second half.”