Defoe scores milestone goal as Rangers extend Scottish lead

Jermain Defoe scored his 300th goal in club football as Rangers moved six points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a 2-0 win at home to Livingston on Sunday.

Victory saw Steven Gerrard’s men capitalise on the fact that reigning champions Celtic, the Gers’ bitter Glasgow rivals, could not hold on to a lead earlier Sunday when Aberdeen snatched an injury-time equaliser in a 3-3 draw at Pittodrie.

Rangers have now established a clear gap between themselves and second-placed Celtic, who are bidding to become the first side to win 10 successive Scottish titles — both the Hoops (also in 1965-74) and Rangers (1988-97) have previously managed nine in a row.

After Joe Aribo put Rangers in front at Ibrox, Defoe struck in the 16th minute with his landmark goal — also the much-travelled 38-year-old’s first in league football this season.

The former England striker, who scored his first goal in senior football with West Ham 20 years ago last month, received a ball over the top from James Tavernier, got in between Livingston’s centre-backs and did not break stride with a left-foot finish.

Earlier, Celtic manager Neil Lennon said referee Willie Collum had had a “very poor game” after his side were denied victory by Lewis Ferguson’s late penalty.

Celtic, who came into the match on the back of successive defeats after a 2-0 loss to Rangers was followed by a 3-1 Europa League reverse against Serie A leaders AC Milan, twice came from behind only to be denied.

Ferguson opened the scoring with his first penalty two minutes before half-time but Callum McGregor equalised in the 52nd minute.

Ryan Hedges restored Aberdeen’s lead in the 64th minute but Celtic substitute Leigh Griffiths equalised in the 75th minute and the Dons were reeling when the Hoops’ Ryan Christie scored with a penalty two minutes later.

There was more spot-kick drama, however, when McGregor tripped Connor McLennan and Ferguson struck another precise penalty to give fourth-placed Aberdeen a point.

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“I’m disappointed we haven’t won it,” Lennon told the BBC. 

“We showed the character to come back twice and we then lose that late goal. Defensively, we were poor but attacking it was good, particularly in the second half. It’s too sloppy defensively though.”

Turning to Collum, the Hoops boss added: “I thought the referee had a very poor game today, decision making, being influenced by his assistants and some of his decisions were baffling.”



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