Three Nigerian stars in action as champions Rangers begin title defence in style

The Gers stunningly won the Scottish league title last term and continued where they left off with another straightforward victory on Saturday

Leon Balogun, Joe Aribo, and Calvin Bassey Ughelumba were all in the starting eleven as Rangers kicked off their title defence with a brilliant 3-0 win over Livingston at the Ibrox Stadium.

Fullback and captain fantastic James Tavernier supplied the assists to Ianis Hagi’s 8th-minute opener and Scott Wright’s 78th-minute strike that handed Steven Gerrard’s men a comfortable lead. 

Substitute Kemar Roofe netted a late third which sealed all three points for the champions.

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Confident in possession and decent in his distribution, Balogun was a rock at the heart of the defence for the Gers.

The Super Eagles defender made three crucial interceptions blocked one shot and was not dribbled past all game as he helped the home side to their first clean sheet of the campaign. Nigeria-eligible Ughelumba featured at left fullback in the encounter.

Joe Aribo was far from his best, lasting until just past the hour for Rangers. Still, the Nigerian international was successful with two of his attempted four dribbles and won five of his nine ground duels while recording an 83% pass accuracy.

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Tavernier would be more deserving of the man-of-the-match gong, though, with the skipper crucial to Rangers’ first win of the 2021/22 season.