Ianis Hagi makes strong case to Steven Gerrard for Rangers starting place against Celtic

Ianis Hagi is set to end his wait for his Old Firm debut after placing himself firmly in contention to start for Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard gives instructions to Ianis Hagi during the 2-0 win over St Mirren which saw the Romanian international provide another assist for his team. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

When he arrived at Rangers in January, initially on loan from Genk, Hagi declared the prospect of playing in the derby against Celtic was one of the biggest incentives for his move to Scotland.

But he was left frustrated in March when Scottish football was suspended just two days before he was due to line up against Celtic at Ibrox.

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Hagi missed out again in October when he was an unused substitute as Rangers won the first Old Firm clash of this season 2-0 at Celtic Park.

But the 22-year-old has forced his way back into Steven Gerrard’s side in recent weeks, contributing two goals and two assists in their last four league games as they have established a 16-point lead at the top of the table.

It’s now an impressive tally of four goals and 10 assists all told for Hagi in the current campaign after he joined Rangers on a permanent basis for £3.15 million in the summer.

He displayed some eye-catching technical skills amid the physical nature of Rangers’ 2-0 win at St Mirren on Wednesday, most notably in setting up the opening goal for Kemar Roofe, and has delighted his manager with his recent form.

“We’ve got players in a good place just now,” said Gerrard. “Ianis Hagi has contributed again with an assist. I don’t think we showed our best style in terms of possession and creation against St Mirren but we won the game comfortably.”

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