James Sands is in the press today bumping his gums about the standard of the Scottish Premiership compared with the MLS. The ex-Rangers loanee was quoted in the media slagging off the Scottish top flight and being glad to be back at home with a higher standard of opponent who will ‘challenge’ him.
Now, Ibrox Noise were probably Sands’ biggest backers among the support, giving him a lot of credit for his performances and defending him in the face of a lot of abuse from the wider fanbase, so reading these comments definitely piqued our intrigue.
Well, the fact is, as we’ve said before, Major League Soccer is about the same level as the Scottish Premiership, aside the juggernauts of Rangers and Celtic, who are both colossally more massive than anything America’s main football league can offer. This is a league, remember, that has artificial turf as standard.
So do his comments ring true?
Well in reality, Sands did make a few gaffes, and certainly struggled against Celtic, but he was Man of the Match v Union Saint and was a big help in the group stage when we had no one else to call upon.
But his comments do reek a bit of bitterness, because anyone who reckons the MLS is a higher standard than the SPL, outside of the Old Firm, is somewhat wide of the mark.
The MLS is an ok league, but there’s a very good reason players leave it for a better level, and ironically, James Sands was one of them.
Indeed, his comments screamed of a player who didn’t make it in Europe, so decides to talk it down and make himself feel better.
That said, we do understand him taking a little bit of a pot shot at our game – it IS rubbish, it is poor, and it is, Rangers and Celtic aside, a backwater league. It’s just comical the league he is now in isn’t any better.
We also understand the emotional angle – Sands was lambasted by Rangers fans despite doing everything he could to help our club. He was roundly abused by swathes of supporters more often than not, and we’re sure he’d have seen some of it on his social media channels.
So we can grasp why he might take a bit of a dig – but he didn’t take it at Rangers, only the league.
He’s not completely wrong, it is a terrible league. Rangers and Celtic aside it’s somewhere between League Two and One in England these days. No one can say with a straight face that Hearts or Aberdeen would stand a hope in hell of anything other than relegation from the Championship.
But he’s not exactly in a better place now, with the quality of the USA’s top tier hardly all that much higher.
That said, he is having a better time in his preferred position now, midfield, so he’s clearly enjoying himself better.
He never spoke ill of our club, and we’re not going to speak ill of him.