Noel Whelan has heaped praise on Rangers midfielder Ianis Hagi ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to St Mirren.
The former Aberdeen and Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 22-year-old has “raised the bar” since his reintroduction to the starting eleven earlier this month.
Hagi scored in back-to-back league games for the first time in his Rangers career as Steven Gerrard’s side beat Hibernian 1-0 on Boxing Day.
The attacking midfielder looked to have fallen down the pecking order at Ibrox following the summer arrivals of Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten.
However, he has forced his way back into the reckoning at Ibrox after a six-week spell which yielded just one league start.
When asked by Football Insider for his assessment of the Romania international’s form, Whelan said: “When you want players to react, you are hoping for a positive one.
“No matter how long they have had to wait for their opportunity. You want players with the right attitude.
“Steven Gerrard brought him in for a reason. This is Steven Gerrard’s player.
“He is a great midfielder, just like Gerrard, but when he came in last season there was no as much competition for places. Now everyone is playing out of their skin.
“It is very difficult to change a winning side but he has come into this team and performed. He has raised the bar. He is justifying his selection at the minute.
“It is fantastic for Steven Gerrard to see these players fighting, grafting and contributing to the wins. You do not want players who spit their dummy out. Hagi is repaying the faith.”