Rangers star Glen Kamara might’ve been the talk of Ibrox before the Livingston match after agreeing a new deal, but it’s all about the return of an increasingly key player in the post-match.
Ianis Hagi hasn’t been seen since the international break after a positive Covid-19 diagnosis and was only back on the bench against the Lions in the League Cup.
But after the Gers toiled for openings in a lacklustre opening period, Hagi was introduced to proceedings for the second half, and it took him only three minutes to have an impact.
The Romanian playmaker took the ball from Kemar Roofe before rolling in the Jamaican international at the back post with a delightful, composed, rolled ball into the space.
It was a tap in for Kemar and sparked Rangers’ performance into life before Alfredo Morelos made in two and put the Gers in cruise control.
An instant impact from Ianis Hagi and Kemar Roofe applies the finishing touch! 👏
A perfect start to the second half for Rangers 🔵 pic.twitter.com/RP6HiMDct3
— Premier Sports (@PremierSportsTV) September 22, 2021
Rangers were too good for Livingston in the second half of the clash and were worthy winners on the night with shades of the side that secured 55 returning in the match.
But much of this was through the ever-creative Hagi whose work ethic and dig endears the crowd almost as much as the player’s ability to carve open opposition defences.
A multi-talented player with the right attitude to boot, Ianis Hagi is fast emerging as an increasingly key player for the club just weeks from his 23rd birthday.
For many fans the player is a hugely influential one and this was best exemplified by his match-altering contribution just moments after being introduced.
Supporters took to Twitter to praise the Romanian for his performance as they express delight that Hagi is back in the side:
Hagi with covid – Rangers score one goal from open play in 500 minutes.
Hagi back – assist in 90 seconds and another chance created 3 minutes later.
He's simply our best player pic.twitter.com/GpcVnT1Jbj
— Pena Cartel (@PenaCartel) September 22, 2021
YESS! Ianis Hagi – ma boay – with the great ball for a Roofe tap-in. pic.twitter.com/AOsvxyW3h1
— Heart & Hand Podcast (@ibroxrocks) September 22, 2021
Hagi with the moment of quality which just sparked an entirely different half of football. What a player he is. Roofe and Morelos get their goals as well, which will hopefully help in the next few weeks. Lundstram with an okay performance again? Maybe just about finding his feet?
— Iain (@CemetryGates89) September 22, 2021
Through. Better second half by a distance. Ianis Hagi is beautiful.
— James (@HeartAndHamez) September 22, 2021
Better second half tonight.
MotM Hagi 🥇- changed the whole game.
Closely followed by Lundstram 🥈who looks far more composed in CDM role.
Bassey🥉making up top three
— Tel-Aviv True Blues RSC 🇮🇱🇬🇧 (@telavivrangers) September 22, 2021
Hagi changed that game deserved MOTM good performance, more like it @RangersFC in the hat for the draw 🔥🇬🇧
— GNP92 🇬🇧 (@GPope92) September 22, 2021
We've scored 1 goal in 1 minute from open play since hagi returned from covid https://t.co/f0FdZd4ac4
— CJ (@cjnovo992) September 22, 2021
Hagi on fire tonight, missed the spark he creates! He definitely took his chance when he came on
— Hull Loyal RSC (@HullLoyalRSC) September 22, 2021
See them march on! Vastly improved 2nd half performance, great to see Hagi back in action.
— The Famous (@___thefamous) September 22, 2021
Just wow from Hagi.
Similar to assist away against Slavia, supreme intelligence to try that. Top, top class.
— Joshua Barrie (@JoshuaBarrieRR) September 22, 2021
Hagi gets it, big game player
— Jay Gatz (@JayGatzghost) September 22, 2021
Hagi the difference. Been our best player by a mile so far this season.
— ℂ𝕒𝕣𝕝𝕪. ♚ (@iCxrly__) September 22, 2021
Hagi is a baller 🔥 love that boy btw
— Barry Binnie (@BigBazzaB) September 22, 2021
The result puts Rangers into the draw for the semi-final of the Premier Sports Cup where they will be joined by St Johnstone after they defeated Dundee 2-0 at Den Park.
Dundee United play Hibs and Celtic play Raith Rovers to decide who takes the other two slots tomorrow.
Meanwhile a former Rangers manager has been pulling off a cup upset of his own by defeating one of the sport’s most respected coaches