Hagi is Romanian hero as more SPFL stars turn out for World Cup qualifiers

Rangers playmaker Ianis Hagi stepped off the bench to fire Romania’s winner against North Macedonia and kick off his country’s World Cup qualification programme with a win.

Romania's Ianis Hagi celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the World Cup 2022 group J qualifying soccer match between Romania and North Macedonia at the National Arena stadium in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, March 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Romania's Ianis Hagi celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the World Cup 2022 group J qualifying soccer match between Romania and North Macedonia at the National Arena stadium in Bucharest, Romania, Thursday, March 25, 2021. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

The late strike – his first goal for his country at full international level – restored Romania’s lead after two quick-fire goals from North Macedonia had levelled at 2-2.

It was also a remarkable night for Hagi’s Rangers team-mate Steve Davis who equalled the British international men’s cap record – a title shared with England goalkeeper Peter Shilton.

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Davis led Northern Ireland in a 2-0 defeat to Italy in Parma which also boasted a heavy SPFL contingent of figures, past and present.

Italy's forward Lorenzo Insigne (R) outruns Northern Ireland's defender Michael Smith (L) and Northern Ireland's midfielder Steven Davis during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group C qualification football match between Italy and Northern Ireland on March 25, 2021 at the Ennio-Tardini stadium in Parma. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP) (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images)

As well as former Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough in the dugout alongside Jimmy Nicholl, St Johnstone’s Ali McCann also played on the left of midfield, ahead of Hearts defender Michael Smith.

Ex-Killie forward Josh Magennis led the line with current Killie forward Kyle Lafferty coming off the bench, as did fomer Raith Rovers midfielder Jordan Thompson, and former Falkirk loanee Shayne Lavery.

Celtic goalkeeper Conor Hazard and Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn were among the unused substitutes in the defeat.

Elsewhere former Celtic defender Mikel Lustig played 84 minutes of his side’s 1-0 win over Georgia – starring alongside Rangers defender Filip Helander.

Hibs’ number one Ofir Marciano was opposite former Falkirk goalkeeper Kasper Schemeichel as Israel were defeated 2-0 by Denmark and former Aberdeen defender Kari Arnasson was booked as Iceland were defeated 3-0 by Germany in Duisburg.

Of course there was also a significant SPFL presence in Scotland’s home qualifier with Austria – read Patrick McPartlin’s player-by-player ratings in the 2-2 draw, here.

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