Rangers star Ianis Hagi sent a clear message to Steven Gerrard with his performance off the bench against Celtic on Saturday afternoon.

In what was perhaps the biggest call that Gerrard had to make ahead of the Old Firm, Hagi dropped down to the bench in place of Ryan Kent, who came back into the team.

With Rangers not fully firing on all cylinders against Celtic at Ibrox, Gerrard made the call at half time to bring Hagi on for the struggling Kemar Roofe.

Hagi wasted no time in making an immediate impact and instantly looked to create some meaningful chances for the home the side.

Rangers

The difference in Rangers with Hagi in the team was night and day and it now raises a question about the Romanian’s place in the team and whether he simply has to start.

Despite only featuring in the second half, Hagi was among Rangers’ best performers against Celtic.

As per WhoScored, only Joe Aribo (90%) had a better pass completion rate than Hagi (88%) throughout the game.

No Rangers player made more key passes than Hagi during the Old Firm either, with Gerrard’s side looking far more positive in the second half.

Hagi also completed 100 per cent of his dribbles against Celtic – something that neither Ryan Kent nor Kemar Roofe could manage against the Hoops, according to Wyscout.

Rangers travel to Aberdeen on Sunday afternoon in what is another crucial meeting for Gerrard and co.

The Premiership leaders will be hopeful about their chances of imposing themselves in an attacking sense from the get-go against Aberdeen like they were unable to do against Celtic.

That could open up an opportunity for Hagi to come back into the starting XI and continue the good form that he showed before the Old Firm.

Exactly where Hagi fits into this Rangers side permanently is the next headache that Gerrard must solve, with Roofe, Kent and Morelos starting in a front three against Celtic.

The quality in depth is a nice problem for Gerrard to have, but fitting them all into one team may not be so easy.

In other Rangers news, ‘It’s a fact’ – Walter Smith fires big Rangers warning as club homes in on 55

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