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Gerrard applauds ‘outstanding’ Hagi after comeback win

The Rangers boss was delighted with the win over Hibs on an Ibrox pitch he thought was "awful".

Gerrard applauds ‘outstanding’ Hagi after comeback win SNS

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard said Ianis Hagi’s second half performance and goal were key to an important 2-1 win over Hibs at Ibrox.

The visitors took an early lead through Paul Hanlon but George Edmundson pulled Rangers level just before half-time. After the restart, Hagi was inspirational and scored the winner with a fierce volley.

Gerrard was delighted with the contribution of his deadline day signing and said the player had quickly learned to settle in Scottish football.

“He’s a top talent,” Gerrard said. “It wasn’t just just Ianis but all the attackers, we picked a very bold, ambitious line-up for a reason today: because we were looking for a spark in the final third.

“I thought his performance grew as the game went on. In the first half he was coming to terms with Scotland and people being around him knocking him about but second half he was stronger.

“He’s a brave player who can receive the ball in any situation and in any area of the pitch. Even if he makes a mistake he won’t shy away and will keep going. His second half performance was outstanding and deserved to win the match.

“For the goal, I was on the sidelines shouting ‘take a touch’. What do I know? It was a fantastic finish and on his dad’s birthday as well.”

The Rangers boss didn’t play down the significance of the win after what’s been an indifferent spell of form since the winter break.

“I’m very happy,” he said. “It’s a big important win and three points that were exactly what we needed. I thought we got out of the game what we deserved.

“I thought we got frustrated and we were trying complicated things. You could feel the frustration of the crowd and at half time I asked for a performance to lift the crowd and get back to what we’ve done in the majority of the season. I thought the players did that.”

It wasn’t all positive for Gerrard though, with the manager unhappy with the condition of the playing surface at Ibrox.

“The pitch was awful,” he said. “It was awful. We’re trying [to improve it].”