By Nick Ware

6th Jun, 2021 | 9:03pm

Pundit praises Ianis Hagi and recounts important role in Rangers Invincibles season

English pundit Sam Matterface waxed lyrical about Ianis Hagi after the Rangers star came off the bench to feature against England on Sunday evening.

Hagi, 22, was a substitute for Romania as they narrowly lost 1-0 to Gareth Southgate’s side at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium.

He came on midway through the second half and it led to some praise from Matterface on commentary duties for ITV.

“Here’s Ianis Hagi who’s had a habit of scoring important goals and yes, it is the son of [Gheorghe], wearing number 14,” he said.

“He’s scored some important goals for Steven Gerrard’s Rangers like the one he got against Hibernian at Christmas and St Johnstone at home.

“He’s genuinely two-footed, technically gifted, and his output for goals and assists with Rangers over the course of the season was impressive, especially early in the campaign.”

Big year ahead

This could be a defining 12 months or so in Hagi’s professional career.

He has impressed for the Light Blues in fits and starts without ever really cementing his place as a fully-fledged member of our starting XI.

Hagi started more games than not in the second half of the season, but there was never the sense that he was an automatic pick like fellow forwards Ryan Kent or Alfredo Morelos.

Indeed, in some big games, Joe Aribo was thrust forwards from his usual midfield position to join Kent and Morelos.

Hagi has now been at Rangers for 18 months and while he is still young, he will be hoping for a much more integral role next season.

He will face increased competition from Scott Wright who joined mid-way through last season, while Gerrard is sure to bring in reinforcements over the summer.

But we think Hagi could be set for a big 2021/22 campaign if he gets himself in the best condition.

In other Rangers news, a pundit has made an exciting prediction for Bears after an Ibrox development.