By Joe Ellis

31st Dec, 2022 | 2:40pm

Ianis Hagi injury update emerges as Romania U21 manager drops hint on Rangers ace

Ianis Hagi could be back in Michael Beale’s Rangers side as early as January after spending almost a full year out injured, according to Florin Bratu.

The Romanian Under-21 manager was very hopeful that the 24-year-old would be available for selection for the nation’s next round of international fixtures with games at Ibrox in the meantime.

Hagi was stretchered off in the Scottish Cup against Stirling Albion last season but could make his return to the Rangers side at some point in January.

“Ianis looks good physically, his legs look good,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Record. “After such an operation, it is very important to restore your muscles and he seems to have restored them. Now it is the decision of the medical staff.

“But I have been told he will start playing for Rangers again in January. I believe he will start playing substitute appearances for 20 or 30 minutes.

“As soon as he is back in the team, he will be called up for Romania because he is such an important player. But we have to be patient and I would expect it to take another four to six months for him to reach his peak condition from when he eventually returns to the pitch with Rangers.”

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

Patience is a virtue

The Light Blues have had to wait a very long time to get this encouraging news about the Romanian international but they will have to remain very patient to get the best out of him on the pitch.

On 15 December, Rangers announced that Hagi had extended his stay at Ibrox with a new deal which showed that the club believe in him and his ability to get back to his best once he does make his long-awaited return.

Beale has to remember that his guy has not played a senior game of football for nearly a year so he cannot expect him to be at his absolute peak the moment he steps back onto the hallowed turf.

More patience is required to ease Hagi back into the swing of things even if it means having to frustrate him by only giving him substitute appearances to begin with.

Regardless of his rehabilitation plan, just his presence back at Ibrox is sure to lift the whole club at a much-needed time.

In other Rangers news, a supercomputer has been crunching the numbers to predict a vital must-win game for Beale against Celtic.