Rangers hung on for a narrow victory for the second Saturday in a row, but it was another unconvincing display by the Ibrox side.
If Marvin Andrews' two flashing headers in injury time had not crept the wrong side of the post, it could have been a very embarrassing afternoon for the home team.
As it was, an early goal by Christian Nerlinger was enough to keep Rangers 11 points behind Celtic in their forlorn chase of the league leaders, though some of their players look already top have conceded the title.
Rangers started brightly enough with Nuno Capucho's shot striking the keeper in the face from close range, though Roddy McKenzie knew little about it.
Livingston briefly threatened, but Derek Lilley's header from David Fernandez's cross drifted narrowly over the bar.
The home team's pressure paid off in the thirteenth minute when Nerlinger was on hand to guide the ball home after McKenzie spilled Fernando Ricksen's shot, which appeared to move as it reached the keeper.
The home fans settled back for a goal blitz, but it was the visitors who came more and more into the game. Twice before the interval, Stuart Lovell had Stefan Klos anxiously scrambling along his line.
Rangers had lost their way with Peter Lovenkrands completely mis-hitting a cross and summing up their misery.
There was little improvement after the break by Rangers, with David Fernandez spoiling a gilt-edged chance for the visitors. The former Celtic striker was through on goal, but shot past with the outside of his foot.
Capucho was then booked for a dive in the penalty box, though his claim looked to have some justification.
Ronald de Boer then came on for Michael Mols for his first appearance in five months.
The Dutch player's first touch was superb as he put Paolo Vanoli through, and from his cross, Capucho's shot appeared to strike an arm, but once more his claims were in vain.
The Rangers defence backed off the advancing Fernandez, who struck a superb shot, which was heading for the top corner before Klos made a magnificent save.
Then came Andrews' two near misses as Rangers held on grimly.