So Rangers’ latest loss in the Champions League was about the most predictable defeat the club has ever suffered, but it wasn’t all bad. As many have noted, James Sands had a pretty decent match in the middle of the park, being one of the few who could hold his head up high and say he competed at this level.
Indeed, he’s been a bright spot this season, being one of the few players to actually look like he belongs at this kind of level, even if a lot of fans turned him into a scapegoat for some of the mistakes he’s made in his weaker defensive position.
The same fans, incidentally, who gave him MOTM after Union Saint came to Ibrox. Fickle as always…
But being serious, he was shockingly treated after his honest error v Napoli, with fans and Gio alike turning completely on him, the manager ruthlessly dropping him for it unlike how guys like Goldson and Tavernier would remain untouchable after doing the same, and have done, many times over.
And last night he got a spot of redemption – pundits and critics praised him for a solid performance, and Ibrox Noise gave him 5 too, which on a night most were getting well below that, is certainly a positive. On most nights a 5 would be critical but on this one it was a passmark, very much.
He also had the cajones to face the press unlike the usual suspects like Ryan Kent and Alfredo who always hide – at least, in fairness, captain James Tavernier did come out again (on BT) and is facing the music a bit more, as captain.
But this is about the James who can hold his head up high – Sands is a natural replacement for Steven Davis who is completely finished. He and Lundstram can play together without difficulty, and Gio at least now has a solution alongside the former Sheffield man who won’t get in his way.
Sands has been given a rough ride by Rangers fans, but he deserves a bit more credit than he’s gotten.
Fair play James.