Ianis Hagi still remembers being questioned as a seven-year-old bearing the heavy weight of his father’s name. So, question marks arising over his injury comeback were nothing new.

If anything, it made the gruelling rehabilitation period from a serious knee injury that little bit easier as the mental strength required to silence the doubters is evident in bucketloads. 

“It’s so much more mentally than physically [tough] this injury,” said Hagi. 

“Physically you get there but mentally it’s about how you manage the challenges that lie ahead of you.  

“It’s definitely an injury that isn’t easy to come back from but I embrace everything that is put in front of me.  

“I have done that as a kid, I had the pressure of the name and everyone pointing fingers at me at seven years old, everything he does he does because of his father.  

“So for me, these were just another small challenges which lay ahead of me so I embraced them. 

“There are plenty of challenges in front of you, even when you come back in the last three months I had plenty of challenges as well.  

“People tend to forget really quickly in football so it was another challenge to get through it.  

“One thing is for sure, I have never doubted myself since the injury. I know how much work I put in and how much I love this sport.  

“The challenges I have ahead, and I have had them before as well, they are definitely not as big as my ambition. 

“So the only way I see it is I have to go through it, surpass them so I can tick all the boxes and be one hundred percent back to what I was before.  

“And why not even better?”

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Hagi, 24, hasn’t had much reason to celebrate in recent months which made his strike against Hibs that bit more special. However, it pales into insignificance for the creative midfielder went compared to the support from father, Gheorghe, and the patience shown by Rangers.

“I am happy and I have the advantage of having a father who performed so well in the sport,” added Hagi. 

“I’d be stupid if I didn’t ask for his advice, so of course he has been beside me on this journey, especially in the bad moments.  

“So I am really thankful to him, my family and other loves ones - and especially to Rangers because they have been patient with me.  

“They have believed in me and that’s hard to find in the world we’re in, in football.  

“So it depends on me, how I train every day and regain the trust of every single person out there and come back to what I was. 

“It has been a long journey for myself and I am happy the first goal came.  

“I have been working on it, working to get fit as soon as possible in all aspects.  

“Here I am, I’ve scored my first goal so I am happy.”

Rangers have just matches against Hearts and St Mirren remaining this season with little more than pride at stake after Celtic claimed the league title.

There will be ample time for rest, rehabilitation and reflection come the close season for Michael Beale and his players – not that Hagi is planning much time off.

Instead, the Romanian international is planning to do extra work over the summer to compensate for his time in the treatment room over a torrid year. 

He explained: “Everyone will take some time off, others will train more than they have to - I will do that 100 percent, I have been out for 13 months and that’s enough for me away from football!  

“I won’t take too much time off, I am going to focus on what I have to get better at.  

“And come pre-season I want to be one hundred percent in all aspects.  

“We have challenges, we have qualifiers and want to get back to the biggest stage in football the Champions League and win some trophies.” 

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There is an understandable expectation from the Ibrox backroom staff and supporters that Hagi will force his way to become a key player again next season.

The new contract he signed in December – under Beale – suggests as much and the Ibrox boss hasn’t been shy in setting out his expectations from Hagi when he returns with the backing of a full pre-season.

“Ianis is a boy that’s so professional and works so hard and football is his life,” said Beale after Hagi’s first goal back from injury.

“When that’s taken away it’s really cruel, living away from family and what not.

“There was some dark days but the rehab team and physio did a great job to get him back.

“I’m delighted for him, you can see he is a well-liked player from the group. He’s a player that again, next season you’d expect a lot more from.”

Beale already has an eye on the summer with the challenge of a significant rebuild, and Hagi too insists he won’t waste time looking back after his return to the fold.

He concluded: “I am looking forward to everything, the challenges are ahead of us.  

“We’re not going to look back on what happened this season, we have two games to go and our duty is to win those two games then get into the summer.”