Rangers star Ianis Hagi is set to play a big role against Aberdeen on Sunday following recent glowing praise from Steven Gerrard.
The 22-year-old has been in and out of the side so far this season, making the starting XI for only half of the Gers’ 22 league matches.
For last weekend’s Old Firm, he only made the bench, despite a strong run of form in the weeks preceding the fixture.
He got his chance in the second half after a niggle forced Kemar Roofe off, though, and he grabbed it, injecting life into the hosts’ display with his willingness to shoot from distance and his intent to create.
“It [the injury] actually played into my hands in terms of getting Ianis onto the pitch, who I thought was outstanding in the second half,” said Gerrard after the match [RangersTV].
“Ianis takes on information really well and I thought he was really brave to receive the ball in tight areas and Ianis basically produced in the second 45 what we were looking for from our no.10s in the whole game.”
Cedric Itten is an outside candidate to start on the right side in Aberdeen after his strong performance in that role in a similarly tricky away day at Kilmarnock in November.
However, after dishing out such heavy praise to Hagi, the manager surely has to opt for the former Genk star.
It will be a big test for him at Pittodrie against a physical opponent, but a year on from his initial move to Ibrox on loan, it looks as though he is ready to produce more consistently.
The Romania international has been mercurial to date, with his tendency to drift in and out of games no doubt a factor in his initial non-selection for the Old Firm.
Yet, he’s the joint top assist provider in the Premiership with eight, despite his limited playing time, and with both Roofe and Scott Arfield sidelined, his ability to drift in between the lines and to pick a pass in the final third, could prove vital in the quest for three big points.
Ahead of the game, check out our Predicted XI.