After Rangers star Ianis Hagi scored in the 2-0 win over Hamilton, there were real hopes it could kickstart the Romanian’s season and show fans why the club paid £3m for his services.
There were some gripes about the player’s performances on home soil at the start of the season with a feeling brewing that games were simply passing the talented playmaker by.
But that Hamilton goal appears to have given Hagi a kick up the backside and in the 4-0 win over Dundee United the midfielder was at times unplayable.
When Hagi is on this kind of form he always appears to find space and have time on the ball.
He doesn’t possess the same kind of pace as a Ryan Kent but the player’s vision is second to none and that creative spark in the final third was more than evident on Saturday.
Hagi secured two assists in the 4-0 win – the first a neat one-two nutmeg with Ryan Kent and the second a neat lay-off to Scott Arfield.
Steven Gerrard talked up the player’s confidence following the goal against Hamilton and performance against Dundee United, challenging the player to find “consistency”.
“We saw a real strong performance at Hamilton. He got the goal which has done the world of good for his individual confidence,” said Gerrard [Rangers].
“Different players take different times to get up to speed.
“But he’s certainly looking close to what we saw at the back end of last season before Covid kicked in, which is great to see because when he’s at his best, he’s certainly a big help to the team.
“He does thrive on big European nights but I want him to thrive on every game. I want him to be consistent.
“When you’re a young player and you’re growing and evolving, then you have to strive for consistency.
“That is going to be Ianis’ biggest challenge but that’s why a club like Rangers is perfect for him because the supporters and staff will demand that from him.”
Gerrard’s comments also come after national team manager, Romania’s Mirel Radoi, launched an impassioned defence of the Rangers star after stuttering performances for his country.
It’s easy to forget Hagi is only 21 and Radoi has railed back at fans saying he has “total confidence” in the midfielder.
“We all know who Gheorghe Hagi was and we all expect Ianis to be the same. And he’s not,” said Radoi [Scottish Sun].
“Let me tell the fans that I have total confidence in Ianis.
“Ianis is a vital member of this team. Look at his last game for Rangers, he was the best player on the pitch.
“He has played 11 times for Romania and has probably played out of position in ten of those.
“He’s been used on the left wing and the right wing, but I see him as a No.10 and that’s where he will play for us.”
With his coaches at both club and national level giving the Rangers star such emphatic backing, Hagi must challenge himself so we see the best of the £3m midfielder as the season properly begins to ramp up.