Ianis Hagi speaks on Rangers omission and what is needed mentally

Circumstances have now conspired on two occasions to prevent Ianis Hagi fulfilling his ambition to play in an Old Firm match.

Ianis Hagi during a training session at Ibrox ahead of Rangers' Europa League opener against Standard Liege in Belgium. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Back in March, it was Covid-19 which frustrated the Romanian international when football was suspended just two days before he was set to line up for Rangers against Celtic at Ibrox.

Last Saturday, it was the decision of his manager Steven Gerrard which saw Hagi miss out as he spent the full 90 minutes of Rangers’ 2-0 win at Celtic Park on the substitutes’ bench.

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But Hagi, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Thursday when Rangers will open their Europa League Group D campaign against Standard Liege in Belgium, is relaxed about his status in Gerrard’s squad.

The son of Romanian legend Gheorghe has no doubts his opportunity to taste the Old Firm experience at first hand will eventually come and insists his move to Rangers is already meeting all of his expectations.

“I am sure that my chance will come, that was only the first Old Firm game of the season and there are more to come,” said Hagi.

“I am looking forward to being involved in one of them and hopefully I will be fit, but that is for the next game.

“I am now looking towards the game against Liege. I feel really good on the European stage because I believe my style is suited there.

“But I feel good now at Rangers. Even although I have been there for ten months, I’ve only had four in the team because of Covid.

“I am only at the beginning, that is for sure. I am still working on the chemistry with the team but I believe that with every single game I am improving.

“There is more to come for sure and I hope it will be even better than what has happened until now.

“Being in a team like Rangers you need to have the mentality where it’s win at all costs.

“You need to win every game, no matter the competition, and that is something I really like and enjoy.

“At Rangers we train with that same mentality. We have this pressure on our shoulders all the time and it makes me feel like dreams do come true because this is what I have wanted ever since I was a kid.

“I dreamed of being part of a team that always wants to win and always tries to win. I want to be part of a team that wants to get better and wants to win trophies.

“It suits my own mentality. I thrive on that, I don’t know if I was born with it or I just grew up with that mentality because of my dad.

“But this is who I am. I always dreamed of playing with these types of teams. Teams that always had the ball, teams that dominated the pitch and the ball. Teams that were expected to win.

“Basically this is what we want to do at Rangers, I have felt that since day one so that’s why I say dreams do come true. I am striving to get better all the time.”

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