Gerrard hails Hagi for winner on first Rangers start

  • Football
  • Thursday, 06 Feb 2020

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Group E - FC Salzburg v KRC Genk - Red Bull Arena Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria - September 17, 2019 KRC Genk's Ianis Hagi applauds fans after the match REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

(Reuters) - Rangers midfielder Ianis Hagi, the son of Romania great Gheorghe, celebrated his first start for the club by scoring a late winner against Hibernian on Wednesday to seal a 2-1 Scottish Premiership victory.

Hagi's 84th-minute strike, which helped Rangers remain seven points behind leaders Celtic with a game in hand, also came as the prefect birthday gift for his father, who turned 55.

The elder Hagi is regarded as one of the best players of his generation, winning more than 120 caps for Romania and playing for both Real Madrid and Barcelona in a stellar club career.

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard was full of praise for the 21-year-old Ianis, who arrived at the club on a six-month loan from Belgian club Genk on transfer deadline day last month.

"His second half performance deserved to win the match," Gerrard told reporters.

"Ianis is a top talent ... in the first half he was getting used to the game in Scotland, people knocking him about. In the second half he was much stronger."

Paul Hanlon put Hibernian in front in the first half before fellow defender George Edmundson equalised with his first goal for Rangers before Hagi stole the show.

"It was an exquisite finish ... him having the character, the personality and the guts to receive the ball in any situation ... he makes the game look really easy.

"He'll deserve all the headlines."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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