Gary McAllister happy to see Ianis Hagi’s risk and reward strategy pay off

Andy Newport, PA

Gary McAllister was delighted to see Rangers ace Ianis Hagi hit the jackpot after the Romanian refused to shy away from his risk and reward strategy.

Hagi’s winner helped Steven Gerrard’s team tick another result off their championship countdown clock against St Johnstone on Wednesday night.

The 1-0 triumph leaves Gers just six victories away from at last getting their hands on title number 55.

But it was shaping up to be a night of frustration for the Light Blues as Callum Davidson’s stubborn and well-organised Saints refused to lie down for the champions-elect.

That was until a moment of inspiration from Hagi finally unlocked the Perth side.

The playmaker collected a Ryan Jack pass seven minutes into the second half and drove in from the right before hooking a perfect low drive past Zander Clark from the edge of the box to seal Gerrard’s 100th win as Rangers manager.

And it is the courage Hagi shows in his willingness to stand tall when the going gets tough which has made Ibrox assistant boss McAllister such a huge admirer of the 22-year-old son of former Real Madrid and Barcelona great Gheorghe.

“Ianis is a player who takes risks,” said McAllister. “He plays in inches and plays in an area of the pitch where teams try to make it very difficult for us.

“The low block and packed defences is something that we are accustomed to playing against.

“When I look at Ianis, I see a player of flair, but I also like the bravery in his play.

“The fact that he goes for passes, he goes for shots, he takes the responsibility.

“On occasions, sometimes the shots go high and wide and sometimes if he goes for a cute little through pass it might get intercepted.

“But I like the fact that he is brave and he takes the chance to go for those high-level assists and goals.

“Likewise, Kemar Roofe, Kenty (Ryan Kent), Scott Wright who we have just signed. These are the sort of players who we need to show that imagination and that cuteness.

“It is a bravery thing as well. These guys are the first to get criticised when things don’t go well, the flair player is the one people say ‘he is not working that hard’.

“But I like that we have guys who take the risk.”

However, Rangers found themselves facing a few hairy moments in the latter stages as they did just enough to claim their 21st clean sheet of a remarkable campaign.

Gerrard’s team have looked relentless on their unbeaten march to a 23-point lead but there have been as many vital moments where they have chosen to carefully manage their way through games as there have been occasions where opponents have simply been steamrollered.

“In a couple of games, like at Easter Road last week, going into that last five minutes when things can get a wee bit nervy, I think we are showing a greater belief,” said McAllister.

“I think there is a belief within the group, in the guys on the bench and on the pitch, that they believe that they can go on and hang on to the result.

“Any team that has the ambition to go on and win something, you have got to have that ability.”

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