Rangers boss Michael Beale receives Champions League vindication as Rabbi Matondo justifies taking Ianis Hagi’s place in the squad.

Heading into the Playoff clash with PSV Eindhoven, there was much conjecture surrounding the decision to swap the Romanian for the pacey Welsh winger.

But that move has now been completely justified by the fact that Rabbi Matondo came off the bench for Rangers to score the club’s second goal in a 2-2 draw with the Eredivisie outfit.

Now with the return neatly poised in the Netherlands, Rangers will look to exploit any gaps at the Philips Stadion with the pace of the ex-Schalke star.

Rangers v PSV Eindhoven - UEFA Champions League Qualifying Play-Off: First Leg
Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Michael Beale showed some serious conviction to remove Ianis Hagi from the Champions League squad following the weekend’s win over Greenock Morton.

The Romanian playmaker went public with his groans about a lack of playing time as he returns from a lengthy ACL injury lay-off.

Rangers boss Beale didn’t bow to the resultant pressure and stuck with his guns knowing full well that Rabbi Matondo was a more suitable horse for this particular course.

It’s a decision which has paid off massively with the young Welshman resurgent and Rangers very much in with a shout of making the Champions League.

Michael Beale vindicated by Ianis Hagi Rabbi Matondo call

As for Ianis Hagi, Michael Beale has suggested that the player’s agent has been having “background” discussions about his future with an exit now edging closer.

“His desire is he wants to be a main starter and play every single game and no-one’s got that guarantee at Rangers,” Beale said.

“He’s competing with Todd Cantwell for that role and maybe Sam Lammers and one or two others. Tom Lawrence is now returning.

“It’s more ‘what does Ianis need to get back?’ after being out for a year with an ACL.

Rangers v PSV Eindhoven - UEFA Champions Qualifying Play-Off: First Leg
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

“Those conversations and options Ianis and his agent have been looking at for the last week or so, so in the background there’s been a lot going on.”

Rangers initially signed Ianis Hagi on loan from Genk in the January of 2020 before making a £3m transfer permanent the following summer.

Rabbi Matondo signed on a reported £2m deal from Schalke 04 last summer and has finally gotten off the mark for Rangers in the draw with PSV.

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