Scott Wright’s sublime finish finally killed off stubborn Livingston as Rangers began their first Scottish Premiership title defence in 10 years with victory.
Steven Gerrard’s side, unbeaten in the league last season with a 100% home record, surged into an early lead when Ianis Hagi lashed high into the net.
But their threat was blunted until Wright curled a shot into the far corner with the outside of his boot, before fellow substitute Kemar Roofe added a last-minute third.
Livingston failed to muster a shot on target, with Ayo Obileye horribly miscuing a free header in the first half.
Rangers’ Premiership unbeaten streak now stands at 40 matches and the late flurry put a more realistic complexion on a result that never looked in doubt.
The new season heralds the return of supporters in significant numbers to Scottish football stadia, and the 23,000 home fans had barely taken their seat before they were rising to applaud the opener in a relentless Rangers start.
Hagi, all alone at the back post, killed James Tavernier’s free-kick with one touch. The Romanian then feigned to shoot, selling two Livingston players a dummy, and stepped inside to rifle a shot into the top corner.
Goalkeeper Max Stryjek was soon clawing away a bouncing strike from Joe Aribo as Livingston came under siege.
Left-back Adam Lewis, on loan from Liverpool, was enduring a torrid introduction to Scottish football. Having conceded the free-kick for the goal, the 21-year-old earned the first booking of the season for chopping down Hagi.
The scorer, still feeling the effects, hobbled off on the half hour and Lewis followed after the break with a tight hamstring.
However, while dominating possession, Rangers were unable to further trouble Livingston in the first half. Striker Fashion Sakala struggled to influence proceedings in a quiet debut before being replaced by Roofe on 70 minutes.
Livingston, to their credit, weathered the early storm but were too wasteful in possession to trouble Jon McLaughlin on a rare league start in the Rangers goal.
Wright, Hagi’s replacement, staked his claim for regular action by reviving Rangers as an attacking force.
The forward sent a dipping volley narrowly over and had a header saved before pouncing on a loose ball in the box to brilliantly double the hosts’ advantage.
That cued a late barrage against the tiring visitors, who were down to 10 men after Jaze Kabia – one of three substitutes used – had to go off injured.
Roofe capitalised on poor defending to blast in from six yards and Glen Kamara should have made it four when he slid in at the back post to fire wide.
Man of the match – Scott Wright
What did we learn?
Rangers picked up where they left off last season by maintaining their flawless home form.
This wasn’t the champions at their free-flowing best and they lacked cohesion and tempo going forward after taking the lead.
There’s clearly more to come from Gerrard’s side, while Livingston’s new signings were given a harsh introduction to life in the top flight.
The visitors deserve credit for stemming the flow after a disastrous start, but were simply overwhelmed by Rangers’ superior quality in the end.
What did they say?
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard told Sky Sports: “We were good for large parts. But after the first goal our mentality changed, we complicated the game, everyone was taking an extra touch.
“From 2-0 to the end of the game we were fantastic again so it was just that middle part.”
Livingston manager David Martindale told Sky Sports: “Really disappointed in the first goal as it came from a set-play. We have to defend better. Rangers definitely deserved to win but 3-0 flattered them slightly.”
Rangers turn their attention to the Champions League, with a first-leg qualifier away to Malmo on Tuesday (18:00 BST), while Livingston host Aberdeen in the Premiership next Sunday (15:00).
- 17AriboSubstituted forLundstramat 64′minutes
- 7HagiSubstituted forWrightat 31′minutes
- 30SakalaSubstituted forRoofeat 71′minutes
- 16LewisBooked at 13minsSubstituted forKabiaat 56′minutesSubstituted forat 79′minutes
- 10SibbaldBooked at 60minsSubstituted forDevlinat 66′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 17ForrestBooked at 25mins
- 9AndersonSubstituted forHamiltonat 68′minutes
- 29PenriceBooked at 87mins
- John Beaton
Match ends, Rangers 3, Livingston 0.
Second Half ends, Rangers 3, Livingston 0.
Nicky Devlin (Livingston) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Calvin Bassey (Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Nicky Devlin (Livingston).
Attempt missed. Glen Kamara (Rangers) left footed shot from very close range is high and wide to the left. Assisted by John Lundstram.
Attempt missed. John Lundstram (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Scott Wright.
Goal! Rangers 3, Livingston 0. Kemar Roofe (Rangers) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner.
Attempt missed. James Tavernier (Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Steven Davis.
Foul by Kemar Roofe (Rangers).
Jack McMillan (Livingston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. James Tavernier (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
James Penrice (Livingston) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Ryan Kent (Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by James Penrice (Livingston).
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Jack Fitzwater.
Corner, Rangers. Conceded by Jack Fitzwater.
Attempt missed. Calvin Bassey (Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ryan Kent.
Offside, Rangers. Connor Goldson tries a through ball, but Ryan Kent is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Connor Goldson (Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ryan Kent.