THE line from Roy Makaay about tricks being 'for the circus' may have been taken out of context and had too much read into it last month.

But the truth in the statement comes from an acknowledgement that there is a time and a place for such shows of skill. The last minute at Ibrox when Rangers are just 1-0 up isn't one of them.

Ianis Hagi found that out himself on Saturday and it was interesting that he would use his RangersTV interview as a platform for his own mea culpa. It would be even more intriguing to know whether the apology was his idea or whether the Romanian had felt the wrath of his manager in the minutes before he stood in front of the camera.

As one of the most naturally gifted players within Giovanni van Bronckhorst's squad, the Rabona technique - where the kicking leg is crossed behind the back of the standing leg to make contact with the ball - is hardly one that is outwith Hagi's capabilities.

Hagi wouldn't execute it on this occasion, however, and he would skew the ball out of play just as the champions were seeking to retain possession for as long as possible and run the clock down to make sure of victory over Dundee United.

Within seconds of his ill-advised attempt, Darren Watson had flicked a header onto the bar and Rangers had breathed a sigh of relief. Hagi would not have been solely culpable had United equalised, but he would have had to accept his share of the blame.

In the end, there was no harm done. The contrition was clear from Hagi, though, as he reflected on a hard-fought victory - earned thanks to James Tavernier's late penalty - that ensured Van Bronckhorst's perfect Premiership record continued.

"First of all I want to start by apologising to the fans for the last minute Rabona," Hagi said. "I know that is not Rangers standard.

"I got a little bit carried away. I wanted to start with that. Getting the three points at home, I think that is the most important thing."

The failed Rabona attempt summed up Hagi's performance at the weekend, yet his attitude post-match is symptomatic of his mentality and his desire - both to improve and to win - cannot be questioned like his decision-making is at times.

There were audible gasps and giggles around Ibrox when he was announced as the Man of the Match. Such a reaction was unfair on him personally, but it did highlight just how ineffective he was after starting on the right flank and moving into a more central area after the break.

The 23-year-old poses a headache for Van Bronckhorst. Hagi is just as technically adept as Ryan Kent on the other wing, but his lack of pace means Rangers can often be lopsided in attack and he doesn't provide the same high-tempo threat down the right side.

He is the kind of talent that Van Bronckhorst would want in his team, but fitting him in could be increasingly difficult and Hagi is without a goal or assist in the seven matches that he has played since the start of a new era at Ibrox.

Hagi is a moments player. Capable of individual pieces of brilliance, he has the ability to turn a game on his own. Equally, however, he can often be accused of falling out of the action for prolonged spells.

It is not for a lack of trying, but the playmaker must find ways of influencing more games more often if he is to truly become a mainstay of this Rangers side and realise his undoubted potential.

The tricks and the flicks are part of his makeup and shouldn't be discouraged. It is all about timing, however, and Hagi has to now prove that he can take his game to the next level at Ibrox.