Gerrard hails Hagi's son on first Rangers game

Published 06.02.2020 12:19
Updated 06.02.2020 12:32
Gerrard L and Hagi pose after the signing ceremony, Glasgow, Jan. 30, 2020. IHA Photo
Gerrard (L) and Hagi pose after the signing ceremony, Glasgow, Jan. 30, 2020. (IHA Photo)

Rangers' midfielder Ianis Hagi, the son of great Romanian midfielder Gheorghe Hagi, 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 perfect 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 cups for Romania and playing for Real Madrid and Barcelona in his stellar club career. He also became a household name for Turkish football fans after Istanbul giants Galatasaray signed him on. He retired from football fiver years after joining Galatasaray in 2001.

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 equalized 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," Gerard said. "He'll deserve all the headlines."

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