Gary McAllister lauds Ianis Hagi after making impact for Rangers

Rangers assistant manager Gary McAllister praised Ianis Hagi for making the difference in a 2-0 Premier Sports Cup quarter-final win over Livingston.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 6:00 am

Hagi returned from a Covid-19 lay-off as a half-time substitute and took less than three minutes to set up Kemar Roofe’s opening goal.

Alfredo Morelos benefited from a gift from Livi goalkeeper Max Stryjek to seal the win in the 63rd minute.

McAllister told Premier Sports: “It was a case of job done. The first half we huffed and puffed. We did create some chances but we felt we were wasteful in the final third, lacking a bit of guile and quality.

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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard (right) with assistant manager Gary McAllister. Pic by Getty.

“We made a wee change at half-time and it paid dividends. We lacked that guile and quality, and Ianis brought it.

“Credit to him because he has had a tough time lately with Covid and 10 days’ quarantine. He looked sharp and brought that quality we needed.”

Livingston manager David Martindale bemoaned the part his team played in their own downfall.

Livi conceded possession a number of times deep in their own half after the interval with Stryjek passing the ball straight to Morelos 12 yards out before the Colombian netted.

Martindale told the media at trackside: “First half we frustrated them and limited the chances in our box. I was pretty happy with how the game went. We managed to string some decent patterns of play together ourselves, albeit probably deeper than I would have liked it to be.

“You could see the crowd getting a bit anxious. And then we give away cheap possession for the first goal. There was no pressure on the ball. But you can recover from that.

“And then we gift Rangers the second goal. It was a poor mistake.

“I’m really frustrated because I speak to Max about that, about taking touches and seeing what options are available. I don’t mind if the ball goes up to the final third.

“We got lucky five minutes earlier when he does something very similar. You can’t coach that, so I am really frustrated.

“Fair play to the big man, he pulled off a wonderful save from (Connor) Goldson’s header, but at 2-0 at Ibrox the game is done.”

Martindale revealed he had taken off Adam Lewis in the final minute of the first half to protect his fitness, despite the on-loan Liverpool player’s protestations.

“The staff said he turned his ankle slightly in the warm-up and he was limping about,” Martindale said.

“He was adamant he could have stayed on but we had half an eye on Saturday and I said we will take him off and deal with it.”

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