Ianis Hagi is relishing his first trip to Hampden Park after stepping off the bench to help Rangers overcome Livingston 2-0 at Ibrox to book a Premier Sports Cup semi-final spot.
The Romanian was named in Steven Gerrard’s squad for the first time in over a fortnight after recovering from a recent positive Covid-19 test while on international duty last month.
In a largely forgettable opening 45 minutes, half-time substitute Hagi proved the catalyst for the Light Blues as he made an instant impression by setting up Kemar Roofe to rifle home the opener.
Alfredo Morelos sealed Rangers’ place in the last-four after pouncing on a stray pass from Livingston keeper Max Stryjek in the 83rd minute.
Hagi admits it was a relief to be back involved with his team-mates and believes they have a point to prove after their quarter final exit in the competition last season.
He said: “I was just happy to be back out on the pitch. It’s been a very tough two weeks for me mentally being away from the football club and training, so I’m just happy to get 45 minutes and help the team.
“The support I’ve received has been unbelievable. That’s what kept me going through the quarantine period, so I’m just really happy to be back here with everyone, especially the fans who I missed most.
“We play most of our games against teams set up in a low block and we just need to find ways to score the first goal and press on.
“There will be times where we score early in games or nights like tonight where we have to be patient and score in the second half.
“We’re just delighted to be in the semi-finals and I’m looking forward to going to Hampden for the first time.
“We have the opportunity to win a trophy early in the season which can give us a great boost. Knowing what happened in this competition last season, we have something to prove now.
“We set the standards very high after what we achieved last season and it will be difficult for any team in the future to match it.”
Gers manager Steven Gerrard had challenged his side to become more clinical in front of goal and Hagi insists they must keep striving for success.
He added: “We’re playing in several different competitions at the moment, so we have to adapt.
“My job is to create, assist and score goals. As long as we score and win games, everyone is happy.
“We’re pleased that we have so many games just now to prove ourselves again and again. It’s our job to make the fans happy.”