IANIS HAGI arrived at Rangers with a big name on his back and lofty ambitions in his mind. Today he stands on the brink of achieving the first of his goals as he continues his rise and rise at Ibrox.

The Romanian has become increasingly influential for Steven Gerrard's side this term and his efforts will soon be rewarded as Rangers close in on the Premiership title. The Europa League stage will give Hagi another chance to shine.

Spells with Fiorentina and Genk didn't provide the opportunities that he needed but his time in Glasgow has seen the playmaker improve and impress. The longer the season has gone on, the more Hagi has caught the eye.

European clashes with Slavia Prague will be key in the coming weeks but it is the first of three league fixtures, against Livingston this evening, that could take Rangers to the title that is the focus first and foremost.

Hagi said: “It means a lot to be honest. I always dreamed of playing, and I think every single player dreams of playing, on the big European nights.

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"Whether it is the Europa League or the Champions League, we all dream of playing on those nights. It’s different to the league but at the same time it’s really beautiful.

“It makes me more mature, it makes me push myself every single time I step out in the Europa League. It’s a really good place to grow up as a player. It makes you push yourself every single night.

“When I came here I had a discussion with the manager and with Ross. So I knew what their plan was with me.

"It was the same type of plan I was thinking about. You have seen in the last year or so that I have just got better as a player.

“I think I have got better not only on the pitch, but off the pitch as well. I’m just trying to get better every single day.

“I’m young so I will always try to improve my game and work on my game. I think everything that was built around me, the trust they have in me.

“So far so good. Hopefully I can build on that and try to get better because that’s my objective.”

The backing of Gerrard and the faith of his team-mates has been integral to Hagi's form.

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Goals against St Johnstone and Hibernian helped Rangers safely negotiate December, while momentum was built last month as he netted in another win over the Saints and a 4-1 victory at home to Dundee United.

Rangers require just seven points to be crowned champions this season and end the wait for a long-suffering support. These are historic moments for Rangers and ones that the Ibrox squad will rightly savour themselves.

Hagi said: “I think it is huge and it has made me understand throughout the season how huge it is. To be honest with you, I can’t wait until that moment happens.

“But the mentality that we have as a team, and me as an individual, is to just look at the next game, try to win the game and come back to train to prepare.

“I have talked to the players, the medical staff, the coaching staff and everyone that surrounds the club. Everyone knows how big this title will be and throughout the season I have realised how big it is.

"It made it even better to know that we are on a good path and close to achieving something big.”