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McAllister: Hagi’s cleverness made the difference for Rangers

The Romanian attacker came off the bench to kick-start the win over Livingston.

McAllister: Hagi’s cleverness made the difference for Rangers SNS Group

Rangers assistant manager Gary McAllister praised Ianis Hagi for the impact he made as the Ibrox side beat Livingston to reach the Premier Sports Cup semi-finals.

Hagi replaced Scott Wright after a goalless first half and brought a spark to Rangers’ attack, setting Kemar Roofe up for the opening goal just three minutes after taking to the pitch.

Alfredo Morelos capitalised on a goalkeeping blunder to make it 2-0 and ensure progress but Hagi was a persistent threat on his return after isolation, having tested positive for Covid-19 while on international duty.

McAllister was impressed by the attacker’s incisive play and said he brought a new element to the team when he came on.

“What we were asking for at half time was that wee bit more guile and a wee bit more quality going into the corners of the box, and Ianis provided that,” he said.

“I think there’s a cleverness about Ianis and it is positional. It’s about his awareness of how to play the role.
Sometimes you’ll see players that are really, really busy running from box to box but sometimes it’s advantageous to stand still and get your positioning right.

“He’s someone who’s watched a lot of football and his dad wasn’t bad either so he’s learned from the fact that you don’t have to be flying around the pitch to make an impact on a game.

“It’s cleverness and that’s what he brought tonight. It was a wee bit of something different and he created the first goal. We needed that to break down Livi.”

The win puts Rangers in Thursday night’s semi-final draw and a step closer to their aim of landing more silverware.

“It’s something this club has a history of, and it’s something we want to keep going,” he said. “The fact is that it’s been brilliant to be back at Ibrox in front of a big home crowd and it’s similar when you go to the national stadium and it’s an opportunity for our fans to be back there as well.

“We want to win and get to the final. So it’s good for everybody at this football club because that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to win things.”

McAllister also had positive words for Glen Kamara, who signed a contract extension ahead of the cup tie.

“I’m a massive fan of Glen Kamara,” he said. “He’s been outstanding since the day he arrived and he just keeps improving.

“I watch him when he plays for his national team and he’s a player with a lot of poise and a lot of class and I think there’s a lot of growth still in Glen.

“If he could go and step forward and maybe get a goal, that would add a lot to his CV as well.”

We’re delighted that he’s signed a long-term contract and he’s a player we think can still improve. He’s a very, very talented boy.