Glasgow Rangers inflicted the second Old Firm derby blow of the season to move 19 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership as ten-man Celtic were left to rue their missed chances.
Ianis Hagi, making his 26th appearance of the season, has made himself virtually undroppable after his heroics in the second half.
Celtic were the better side for the most part, but now sit far behind their arch-rivals as the title race starts to look like it is all but over.
Steven Gerrard’s side had made their best start to a domestic campaign since 1928 but started the derby game on the back foot. However, everything changed after Hagi replaced Kemar Roofe at half-time, with the Ibrox boss later confirming that Roofe had suffered a knock.
Hagi, 22, started on the bench but his performances over the past couple of weeks have surely made him impossible to drop for Steven Gerrard.
Roofe’s versatility has proven to be an added bonus – since his arrival in the summer, the 27-year-old has made 12 starts out of his 21 appearances across all competitions on the right-wing. There’s no doubt his absence will be a bitter blow for the Ibrox boss, who already faces the prospect of travelling to Premiership rivals Aberdeen without Scott Arfield and Ryan Jack.
On the right, Hagi has looked pretty comfortable on almost every occasion he’s played, slotting into place alongside the likes of Alfredo Morelos, Jermain Defoe and Cedric Itten over the course of the campaign.
There are some similarities between the two players, with both having a penchant for scoring sensational screamers. But there are also some obvious major differences, with the Romania international demonstrating an ability to dictate play and bring others into the game.
He’s already provided ten assists in all competitions this season, ten more than Roofe so far, and has excelled in the Europa League.
Hagi has scored one goal in four games, while he is averaging two shots per game in comparison to the Jamaican’s 2.3. He has also made more key passes per game – 1.7 to 0.7 – while he’s also produced 31 passes on average.
Once hailed as an “outstanding” player by the Ibrox boss, the Romanian has provided seven goals and 12 assists in 39 appearances for the Gers, via Transfermarkt.
Should Roofe be ruled out for an extended period of time, Hagi has shown that he is more than capable of filling his boots.
AND in other news, Glasgow Rangers dealt huge injury blow after Old Firm clash with Celtic…