Glasgow Rangers roared back to winning ways by thrashing Aberdeen 4-1 at the weekend. The Ibrox side dominated the match with Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men registering 36 shots in total and the match could have easily seen more goals.
The result sets them up well ahead of tonight’s clash against Ajax in the Champions League, where they will have to better the score in the reverse fixture (4-0 to Ajax) to have any chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.
The task will be made even harder by losing midfielder John Lundstram to suspension, especially considering he has been one of the club’s finest performers this season, averaging a SofaScore rating of 7.28 in the Premiership.
Van Bronckhorst should unleash American James Sands in his place, with the player well-equipped to play a successful role in the Light Blues engine room.
Despite featuring at centre-back in the earlier stages of the campaign, his best position is certainly at the heart of the midfield.
In eight league games this term, Sands has taken on average 71.8 touches while having a pass completion rate of 89%, showing just how much he demands the ball and how effective his passing ability is when deployed in the centre of the pitch.
The 22-year-old’s strength in one-on-one battles is also evident by the fact he has won 73% of his total duels, while he has only been dribbled past on average 0.1 times per match, displaying a maturity which is rare for someone of his age.
With a Champions League rating of 6.13 as per SofaScore, it’s clear he has found the transition from domestic matches to performing in Europe’s elite competition difficult, however, the Dutchman should give him a chance to improve and considering a 5-0 result is highly unlikely, it is essentially a free pass.
Following the Aberdeen match, journalist Jordan Campbell described Sands’ performance as “outstanding” and with his versatility in being able to play either in defence or the midfield, he will be seen as the prime candidate to replace Lundstram this evening.