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    Time to shine: Gers must unleash Ibrox ace “like Zinedine Zidane” in Europa League – opinion

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    Glasgow Rangers warmed up for their Europa League clash with Standard Liege by beating Celtic in the first Old Firm derby of the season on Saturday afternoon. The Light Blues battered the Bhoys in their own backyard with a dominant 2-0 win at Celtic Park.

    Steven Gerrard’s side took an early lead after Connor Goldson headed the Gers in front from James Tavernier’s free kick, before he side-footed home his second after the break to secure the victory.

    And the Rangers boss was delighted to see his in-form midfield dominate the middle of the park as Glen Kamara, Scott Arfield and Steven Davis ruled the roost, whilst Ryan Jack came off the bench to play his part in the second half. However, there was one notable absentee, as Ianis Hagi was nowhere to be seen.

    Should Ianis Hagi start for Glasgow Rangers vs Standard Liege?

    Yes!

    No…

    No...

    Both Hagi and Jordan Jones have become first-team regular starters in recent weeks, but Brandon Barker scored as a substitute against Ross County before the international break, which explains the reasoning behind the decision to rest the 13-cap Romania international at the weekend.

    The stage was arguably set for the 21-year-old to write his name in the history books, although with the benefit of hindsight it’s hard to imagine seeing someone his age start in a game of such magnitude. It’s fair to say that he has a big reputation to live up to as his father Gheorghe Hagi is considered to be a Romanian all-time great.

    But the former Barcelona and Real Madrid attacking midfielder believes his son is a playmaker who is cut from a similar cloth to Zinedine Zidane. He told Der Standard, as relayed by The Daily Record, that “his style of play is more like Zinedine Zidane than Gheorghe Hagi – but I can live with that too!”

    A rested, reinvigorated Hagi poses a potent threat to anyone on his day, let alone against a side that have conceded five goals in their last four league games.

    Per SofaScore, Hagi has played 10 Scottish Premiership games this season, and scored one goal and supplied five assists, whilst he has averaged 1.5 shots and 1.6 key passes per game. In comparison, Barker and Jones have barely averaged 0.5 key passes per game between them, via SofaScore.

    Once lauded as an “outstanding” player by Gerrard after he staged a sensational 3-2 comeback victory against Braga in the Europa League last term, Hagi has shown signs that he is becoming a reliable player for Rangers with a string of assists in the Scottish top flight.

    But the Gers must give him the time to shine in the Europa League if he is to fulfil their expectations.

    AND in other news, Glasgow Rangers show they are early favourites for the title but must avoid a repeat of 2019

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