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Fashion Sakala dedicates Rangers victory to his injured team-mate Ianis Hagi

Fashion Sakala File Photo
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Fashion Sakala dedicated Rangers’ narrow 1-0 cinch Premiership win over Livingston to injured team-mate Ianis Hagi.

The Romania international is out for the rest of the season after undergoing a knee operation on Monday.

The league leaders were also without suspended Ryan Kent and Alfredo Morelos, who is away on international duty with Colombia, and they struggled against a well-organised Livi side at a rainswept Ibrox.

However, in the 75th minute substitute Scott Arfield, making his first appearance since Boxing Day after returning from injury, grabbed the crucial winner with a close-range finish to keep the Light Blues four points ahead of Celtic who won 2-1 at Hearts.

Gers attacker Sakala said: “It was a very tough game but we were ready for it. We wanted the three points.

“That is what we talked about and it was a special game because of Ianis Hagi.

“It was a very big dedication to him. I think the only way to wish him good luck and get well soon was to get the three points.

“It was really difficult. Playing against a team with a low block is always difficult but I am very happy because every player played well.

“It was very special [to see Scott get the goal].

“I was very happy for him to get a goal and for the team to get three points. It is great for (Ryan) Jack and Scott Arfield [to come back].”

Rangers travel to Ross County on Saturday before facing Celtic at Parkhead next Wednesday in what is shaping up to be an epic encounter.

Sakala said: “This is a team that is always looking to the next challenge.

“Now we are done with this one with Livingston we have to think about Ross County.

“It is something that we will focus on and I am pretty sure and very confident that we will fight again like we did today.”

Giovanni van Bronckhorst was pleased to see Arfield return and his side battle for three crucial points which maintain their advantage over Celtic.

He said: “I am very proud because it was a very difficult game, very difficult circumstances.

“If you see the chances we had in the first half, not so much the second half, but we don’t score, it is going to be difficult.

“But I am happy with the subs we could make, Scott has been out for a while but he could play the last stages of the game and he changed it.

“So I am really pleased for Scott, pleased for the team because the circumstances it was really difficult, we still kept fighting to win the game and that’s what we did so the three points for us were big.”

Livingston boss David Martindale claims his side could have escaped Ibrox with a point.

He said: “Did we deserve to come away with three points? Probably not. Were we a wee bit unlucky not to get a point? We probably were.

“I don’t think we caused Rangers too many problems but our goalkeeper wasn’t that busy.

“In the second half especially, Rangers got behind us with some good combinations and put dangerous balls into our box.

“We dealt with 99 per cent of them well and then wee Scotty Arfield comes on and flicks one in at the near post.

“It was debatable if he was trying to finish it, to be fair, but he’s a clever player and his midfield runs are hard to deal with.

“You automatically fall into those low blocks when you come to Ibrox or Parkhead.

“Tonight, I let the fact Hagi, Morelos, Kent and Aribo were out of the Rangers team come into my thinking and I went a bit more adventurous. But fair play to the players who came into the Rangers team.

“The boy (Alex) Lowry did well and Rangers got the three points which is all that matters at the end of the day.”

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