Gio van Bronckhorst’s side failed to pick up all three points away to Aberdeen despite going 1-0 up early on through Ianis Hagi’s close-range strike.
Lewis Ferguson’s second-half penalty, after a handball by Alfredo Morelos in the box, allowed the hosts to secure a point, with Ryan Kent also being shown a red card late on.
Despite the disappointing result and performance, there were some positives to take away from the game and one of them was the debut display from midfielder James Sands.
The January signing from New York City FC was given his first opportunity to show the Rangers fans what he is all about and he was the shining light for van Bronckhorst’s side.
Defensively, he worked hard for the team and put himself about on the pitch. As per SofaScore, he won seven duels as he made three tackles, one interception and two clearances, whilst also showing he is willing to put his foot in when needed by committing four fouls.
Sporting director Ross Wilson heaped praise on the American upon his arrival at Ibrox and pointed out his tactical knowledge, saying:
“Gio has looked closely at what he can bring to Rangers and I know working with the manager and our staff, James will develop his game further here.
“Aside from his qualities with the ball, his versatility and tactical understanding, we also know that James is a brilliant character, positive personality and despite his young age, is already showing impressive leadership qualities.”
This was in full view against Aberdeen as he put himself in positions to win the ball back for his side, although he was ultimately let down by the team’s performance as others struggled to show the best versions of themselves.
On the ball, Sands was reliable and composed. As per SofaScore, he completed 100% of his dribble attempts and 81% of his passes as he had 43 touches of the ball. He only gave possession away eight times in 90 minutes, showing that he has the quality to be dependable at this level, as he did not regularly cede ground to the opposition.
Therefore, he was van Bronckhorst’s shining light as he caught the eye with both sides of his game and the Dutch head coach will surely be delighted with his promising debut.