THE bigger the occasion, the higher the stakes, the more Gheorghe Hagi rose to the challenge for club and country.

And the Romanian legend is confident son Ianis will be able to do likewise as he looks to become a key player at home and abroad for Rangers this term.

Hagi Jnr has already made a significant impact for Steven Gerrard's side in the Premiership. He marked his first start at Ibrox with a late winner against Hibernian, while he got a crucial assist as Scott Arfield netted the only goal of the game in the victory over Livingston.

Now the 21-year-old will take to the European arena when Rangers host in-form and highly-rated Braga tomorrow evening in the Europa League.

It is the kind of stage Hagi has long been tipped to shine on as he attempts to follow in his father's illustrious footsteps.

And former Real Madrid and Barcelona hero Gheorghe believes his son is now in the right place at the right time.

"It was a great opportunity because it is a club with a winning mentality," Hagi Snr said.

"Of course he has a lot to learn from this club that has a tradition, it is a winning club and I am sure he will become much better because he will develop even more in his mentality and spirit.

"From what I know, Steven Gerrard called him, talked to him. It is still early to talk about what will be at the end of the season.

"The club must give this answer [whether he will remain at Rangers after his loan deal].

"The atmosphere, the stadium, the supporters, it's fantastic. Any player wants this.

"I'm glad that Rangers have come through those difficult years. Rangers showed once again that it is a very big club.

"Together with the supporters they have shown that they form a large family, that they are strong even in difficult times."

When Hagi completed his loan move from Genk, he spoke about how he has handled the pressure of having the famous family name on his back throughout his career.

Gerrard has backed him to forge his own reputation and Gheorghe believes the playmaker will continue to go from strength to strength at Ibrox in the second half of the season.

Hagi said: "Ianis is Ianis. He plays the same role as mine, but he has own qualities.

"With both legs, creativity. I’m sure he will only be appreciated for his qualities.

"Ianis likes pressure, he is used to it. He likes the challenge, the stakes of the match, the big occasions.

"He gets experience every day because he is very young.

"I watch almost every match. I was glad that it started out well and it is good for his moral. It is fantastic for him, at his age, to play with 50,000 supporters in the stands.

"This I’m sure will make it even better for him."